You Made It Happen!
We Reached Our Goal to Fund the Forestville Downtown Park Located in the heart of downtown.
Watch the video to see the beauty of the Property. You can see a short history of the property below the video.
Disclaimer: This video was produced in 2013. There may be references in the video regarding potential uses of the park which are no longer accurate (e.g., a dog park).
Thanks to Forestville business owners and residents for participating.
For decades eight ‘fallow’ acres in downtown Forestville had seen plans for development come and go. Among those proposals were a golf course, high-density housing, and more recently (2008) a proposal for Townhouses, combined with a commercial development, and a Town Square.
None of these proposals moved forward, as the town citizens mobilized against any plan that would inhibit use of the Property by the community. The last plan garnered community support for one singular reason: developer Orrin Thiessen promised a Town Square.
The Property has been used for the past 100 years by the town of Forestville. It has been the place of community gatherings such as the Holiday Tree Lighting, Town Socials, Business Expo’s and even a Farmer’s Market!
It also served us well as overflow parking for the restaurants and businesses in town; to lose access to the Property would have been an unsettling blow to the fabric of the community and its identity.
Three separate parcels of undeveloped land made up the 8+ acres of land which together were seen by some as space for watershed restoration and wildlife habitat, as well as opportunities to create a park for community activities, a connection to the northern section of the West County Trail, and … a source of eternal gratitude from the Forestville community for protecting a space we hold dear.
With the planned eventual By-Pass of State Hwy 116 cutting behind the town, keeping this Property as an open space was seen as an imperative – a way of protecting our rural heritage, sustaining the town’s community gathering space, and creating educational opportunities for our local schools in ecology and wildlife management.
This open space can and does support a variety of community activities while allowing us to partner with both the private and public sectors in managing its future … a winning solution for us all.
Factors contributing to the decision and supporting action to keep the Property as open space for the community:
- The community had a decades-long history of opposing development on the Property.
- The historical difficulty in getting permits approved for development.
- The interest as measured by attendance at numerous Town Hall meetings wherein a Town Square concept was discussed and approved.
- The number of meetings held by the Downtown Planning Committee over specifics of that Town Square community space.
- Approval from the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
- Approval from the Forestville Planning Association Board.
- Approval from the Forestville Prime Timers Senior Association.
- A community-expressed interest in Forestville remaining as a community with a “rural setting.”
Potential Benefits to the community:
- Public Health – Being a “Quarry Town” there will be increasing (gravel) truck traffic, as the economy recovers, along Hwy 116 or the By-pass. Once the By-pass is constructed. EIR studies from quarry expansion meetings showed diesel particulates to be of concern. Ensuring some undeveloped land within the town boundaries would ameliorate some of the effects of those particulates.
- Connections to accessible open spaces – The Property creates an ideal connection to the West County trailhead.
- Economic benefit – As the town develops in the future, having safely accessible additional parking available off street will encourage folks to stop awhile and check out the businesses/restaurants. Creating open space that is not vineyards (as lovely as they are), that has places for children to play, seniors to mingle, bicyclists to stop for lunch, and town residents to claim as their own will only enhance property values in the long run.
- Educational opportunities – Forestville School, Forestville Academy, and El Molino High School have expressed an interest in having their students participate in wildlife restoration and exploration. The undeveloped Property would act as a training ground for budding environmentalists.
- Protection of natural resources – A significant portion of the Property will be completely undeveloped with removal of invasive species and planting of native species in their place.
This video was produced in 2013 by longtime Forestville resident Patricia Brunelle and it helped “sell” the concept of the Downtown Park.