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About the Southeast Greenway Campaign
Q: What is the Southeast Greenway Campaign?
A: The Southeast Greenway Campaign is a community effort to develop a vibrant urban greenway on the 2-mile stretch of open space that links Spring Lake Regional Park to Farmers Lane in Santa Rosa, CA. The Campaign continues to be inspired by the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that the Greenway represents – a new jewel in the emerald necklace of parks and open spaces that makes Sonoma County a special place to live. The Greenway Campaign is committed to shaping the future of the Greenway based on principles of sustainability – respect for the natural environment, economic vitality and social equity – and community input, needs and desires.
The Campaign seeks to:
- Work with Greenway Partners to acquire the land for public purposes.
- Develop a vision and plan for the Greenway, based on a dynamic community planning process.
- Work with the City of Santa Rosa to adopt an amendment to its General Plan that incorporates the community’s Greenway Plan
- Collaborate with Greenway Partners and interested stakeholders to coordinate the development and stewardship of the property.
Q: What is the Campaign’s vision for the property?
A: The Southeast Greenway Campaign’s vision continues to evolve with ongoing education and community input. We envision the Greenway as an urban linear park that will be a valuable asset for our community and that will:
- Improve our quality of life with a variety of amenities such as neighborhood parks, bike and pedestrian pathways, community gardens, arts and recreation, and educational experiences for children and youth.
- Promote healthy lifestyles by encouraging walking, biking and use of alternative transportation.
- Restore the natural environment with open spaces, urban forest and creeks, land for aquifer recharge, and improved wildlife habitat. This restoration will also help meet state, county and local goals for greenhouse gas reduction.
- Enhance connectivity between East and West County, linking Spring Lake Park with Sonoma Valley to the east, to SMART downtown, and to the Prince Memorial Greenway and West County trails.
- Build community spirit, inclusiveness and resilience, while addressing neighborhood needs.
Q: What is the history of the Campaign and how is it structured?
A: The Campaign originated with interested neighbors who gathered together through the Neighborhood Association for Bennett Valley. The Southeast Greenway Campaign officially launched in September 2009. It has grown to include an all-volunteer Campaign Committee with 20+ active members and a circle of approximately 12 advisors. Our advisors include community leaders with specialized expertise in sustainability, urban planning, architecture, civil engineering, native plants, alternative transportation, organic farming, and community relations. The Campaign Committee holds a monthly general meeting and makes decisions by consensus whenever possible. The Campaign has teams working on acquisition and strategy, community outreach, communications, fundraising, and information management.
Q: What agencies are involved and interested in the project?
A: Several agencies and organizations have joined together and formed the Southeast Greenway Partnership with the intent of acquiring, planning, developing and managing the land. This Partnership includes the City of Santa Rosa and the Sonoma County Water Agency as potential titleholders, and Sonoma County Regional Parks, LandPaths and the Southeast Greenway Campaign as stewards of the land. The Sonoma Land Trust is contributing expertise in land acquisition and fundraising to the Greenway Partnership.
Q: Who else supports the Campaign?
A: The Campaign has a mailing list of over 2000 individual supporters and has received letters of support from a host of organizations including:
- American Institute of Architects Redwood Empire Chapter
- Bennett Valley School District
- City of Santa Rosa
- Community Alliance with Family Farmers
- Concerned Citizens for Santa Rosa
- Congregation Shomrei Torah – Environmental Action Committee
- Empire Runners Club of Sonoma County
- Forest Unlimited
- Friends of the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit District
- Go Local
- Greenbelt Alliance
- Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy
- Montgomery High School
- Neighborhood Association for Bennett Valley Serving 95405
- North Bay Association of Realtors
- Pepperwood Preserve
- Parks Alliance for Sonoma County
- Rincon Valley School District
- Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce
- Santa Rosa Chapter of Realtors
- Santa Rosa City Schools
- Santa Rosa Cycling Club, Inc.
- Santa Rosa Neighborhood Alliance
- Sierra Club California
- Social Advocates for Youth
- Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District
- Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition
- Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
- Sonoma County Climate Protection Campaign
- Sonoma County Conservation Action
- Sonoma County Department of Health Services
- Sonoma County Regional Parks
- Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation
- Sonoma County Transportation and Land Use Coalition
- Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA)
- Sonoma County Water Agency
- Sonoma County Water Coalition
- Sonoma Land Trust
- TLCD Architecture
Q: Is the Campaign a not for profit organization?
A: The Sonoma Land Trust, a 501(c) 3 public charity, is the fiscal sponsor of the Southeast Greenway Campaign. Contributions to the Southeast Greenway Campaign are fully tax-deductible as allowed by law.
Q: Where does the Campaign get its money?
A: The Campaign conducts an annual fundraising effort. Financial support and in in-kind services have been received from:
- AIA Communities by Design
- AIA Redwood Empire
- Chevron Corporation – Employee Matching Grant
- Concerned Citizens for Santa Rosa
- Empire Runners
- Friedman Event Center
- GW2 Printing
- Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy
- Minuteman Press of Santa Rosa
- National Parks Service, Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program
- Our Green Challenge.org
- O.W.L. Foundation
- Raven Research
- Santa Rosa Cycling Club
- Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition
- Sonoma County Birdwatching Spots
- Sonoma County Water Coalition
- The Rose Foundation
- The VF Foundation
- Texas Instruments – Employee Matching Grant
- TLCD Architecture
- Valley Oak Landscaping
- Whole Foods
- Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop
- Yulupa Cohousing Homeowners Association
- More that 400 individual donors
Q: How can I get involved in the Campaign?
A: To get involved in the Campaign, please sign up for eNews, join our Action Alert Network, and check out our volunteer opportunities. The Campaign welcomes your participation!
Q: How can I contribute to the Campaign?
A: Contributions to the Southeast Greenway Campaign are fully tax-deductible as allowed by law. Make a secure, tax-deductible donation online by clicking Donate, or write a check to the Sonoma Land Trust with a notation on the memo line that funds are for the “Southeast Greenway Campaign.”
Mail your check to:
Southeast Greenway Campaign
P.O. Box 9122
Santa Rosa, CA 95405
Greenway Background Information
Q: Will Highway 12 ever be extended from Farmers Lane to Melita Road?
A: No. In January 2014, Caltrans published a Transportation Concept Report for State Route 12 West stating that a freeway extension from Farmers Lane to Melita Road is no longer planned. In August 2014, the California Transportation Commission removed this portion of the Highway 12 right-of-way from the state highway plan, determining that the land will not be used for highway purposes and freeing Caltrans to surplus and dispose of the land.
Q: What is the current status of the property?
A: The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) currently owns the property. The Greenway Partnership is in conversation with Caltrans and hopes to arrive at a mutually acceptable plan for acquiring the property.
In August 2015, Caltrans signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Greenway Partnership. The MOU establishes a process for determining a fair price for the land, performing due diligence, fundraising, and negotiating to acquire the property for community benefit. The MOU gives the Greenway Partnership first right of refusal to purchase the land.
Q: Is there a Plan for the Greenway?
A: In 2011, the City of Santa Rosa added a Class 1 Bicycle Trail stretching from Spring Lake Park to Montgomery H.S. to its Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan. In the summer of 2016 the City of Santa Rosa hired PlaceWorks, a planning consulting firm, to help the city identify appropriate land uses for the property, improve connections, formalize the land use plan through an amendment to the City’s General Plan, and rezone the property to allow for new uses. The potential land uses being considered are:
- Parks and open space
- Recreational facilities
- Neighborhood retail
The planning process will include several opportunities for community engagement and input. For more information, visit the City’s planning website at http://www.planthegreenway.com
The American Institute of Architects and a national team of consultants they assembled worked with the community in 2011 to produce the initial conceptual plan for the Greenway. Their final report, Imagine… A Greenway to Spring Lake and Beyond, reflects their expertise as well as extensive community involvement gathered in town hall meetings and round table discussions. The key recommendation of the plan is that the Greenway be used as a corridor for non-motorized transportation. Community gardens, orchards, a neighborhood park and open spaces round out the plan. You can view and download the concept plan in its entirety on this website!
Q: What are the expected benefits of the Greenway?
A: The Greenway will offer a number of community benefits.
Recent studies have shown that Greenways are an economic asset to the communities in which they are located. They attract tourists who are interested in outdoor recreation and have the potential to improve the quality of life for all residents, making it easier for local companies to recruit new employees. They can also lead to the redevelopment and enhancement in value of surrounding properties.
Health and Recreation
The Greenway will be readily accessible and easy to use because it is close to where people live, work, shop and go to school. It will provide much needed outdoor space for urban apartment and condominium dwellers, as well as easy bike and pedestrian access to Howarth Park, Spring Lake Regional Park, and Annadel State Park. The Greenway will promote active lifestyles by offering community gardening, recreational facilities, and opportunities for people of all income levels to spend more time outdoors and enjoy the beautiful views of Taylor and Bennett Mountains.
There are 6 schools within a half-mile of the Greenway and 8 schools within a one mile radius. Providing safe ways to walk and bike to school offers health benefits, while reducing local traffic congestion and improving air quality. Local educators are excited about using the Greenway to provide outdoor education to all City & County school children, as well as opportunities for community involvement.
The Greenway will provide a key link in our County’s network of trails, linking with Sonoma Valley trails to the east, the SMART train and its associated trails north and south, the Prince Memorial Greenway and west county trails reaching all the way to Forestville. People of all ages will be able to ride safely in pleasant surroundings while reducing their carbon footprint.
The Greenway will provide the opportunity to restore native trees and grasses, providing carbon sequestration, aquifer recharge and improved watershed. It may offer mitigation opportunities for public agencies through restoring oak woodlands and creeks and enhancing existing wetlands. Additionally it will protect critical habitat for wildlife.
Q: Will there be outreach to low-income and minority communities in the planning process?
A: Yes. The City’s planning consultants will lead that outreach with the support of the Greenway Campaign, City staff and non-profit groups. Outreach will include contacting residents of the many rental units near the Greenway.
Q: Will Greenway facilities be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and include braille signage and other provisions for people with disabilities?
A: All new public facilities, including parks and walkways, must comply with ADA requirements. The Campaign supports Greenway facilities designed for all ages and abilities.
Q: When will separate bicycle/pedestrian paths be built?
A: Public input about the desire for separated paths will be important. The decision about whether to build separate bicycle and pedestrian paths will most likely be made during the park planning process. The initiation of path construction in the Greenway will depend on the timing of property acquisition. Path construction may be phased as funding becomes available and other Greenway features are developed.
Q: Will any new through roads cross through the Greenway to the other side, such as from Wanda Way to Camden Court?
A: Four public streets already cross the Greenway: Hoen Avenue, Franquette Avenue, Yulupa Avenue and Summerfield Road. Some small roads may be needed into the Greenway for access of public safety and maintenance vehicles, but the Campaign is not aware of proposals at this time to build additional through roads across the Greenway. The issue of new crossroads may come up during the planning process, and public input will be important.
Q: Will there be adequate parking and access for Greenway uses?
A: The City will be analyzing vehicle access and parking needs when considering possible Greenway uses and their design.
Q: Wouldn’t trails along the creeks in the area provide the same or similar benefits as the proposed Southeast Greenway trails?
A: All bicycle and pedestrian paths that connect the community and facilitate non-motorized transportation would certainly have some similar benefits to paths in the Southeast Greenway, but the two-mile-long Class 1 bicycle path designated in the Greenway by the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan connects the heart of Santa Rosa directly to Spring Lake Regional Park and Annadel State Park and serves as a key east-west link in the regional trail network.
Q: Will there be any housing developed in the Southeast Greenway?
A: The City is considering affordable housing as one of the possible uses for portions of the Greenway land. The Greenway Campaign views this property as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a distinctive linear urban open space and is committed to advocating for open space, trails, gardens, education and play areas. If the community planning process results in some of the property being designated for affordable housing, we have asked that such housing be compatible with other Greenway uses and with existing uses adjacent to the Greenway. We also want any potential housing development to be designed in a way that retains views to the surrounding hills and minimizes the visual impact along streets crossing the Greenway.
Q: Will any commercial features be considered, such as bike repair, a farmers market or other types of retail sales?
A: The Campaign has requested that retail uses in the Greenway be limited to small business activities commonly found in large parks, such as bike rental kiosks, sale of food and drink, and short-term markets, fairs and public events. The City will be considering retail and commercial uses for the 5 acres bordered by Farmers Lane, Hoen Frontage Road and the Highway 12 on-ramp. Additionally, they will be considering retail uses as an option in other areas of the Greenway. It will be important for residents to weigh in on their preferences for the placement of any retail or commercial development.
Q: Will there be natural open space?
A: The Campaign’s vision includes preservation of natural open spaces on the Greenway and environmental restoration with planting of native trees and grasses.
Q: Will there be quiet meditation space?
A: The Campaign’s vision includes restoration of native vegetation and orchards in the Greenway that would create a quiet natural setting in some areas.
Q: Will the Greenway be a wildlife corridor?
A: The Greenway already serves as a corridor for some wildlife movement, and this function may be strengthened with creek restoration and the planting of additional native vegetation that provides shelter and food for wildlife.
Q: Will there be a demonstration native plant garden or bird habitat?
A: The Campaign encourages people with an interest in native plants and bird habitat to participate in the planning processes and make their wishes known.
Q: Will planning consider underground water storage and recharge?
A: The City will consider groundwater recharge and development in the Greenway.
Q: Will there be a par course and resting areas for senior citizens?
A: These features are common along public paths in urban areas and will be considered in the planning process if people request it.
Q: Will there be a dog park?
A: This type of facility has been suggested by several people and may be considered in the planning process. Potential noise impacts of this use would have to be assessed in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
Q: Will there be public bathrooms and water fountains?
A: Such facilities could be included in the Greenway plan, but the final location and design will be determined by the City and will depend on the availability of public water lines.
Q: Will there be picnic areas with electricity from solar power?
A: The Campaign has suggested consideration of picnic areas and other gathering spaces in the Greenway. Solar panels could be included in roofs or canopies for such uses. Public input during the planning process about this and other facilities and land uses will be key to determining the types of amenities that the community most desires and can afford.
Q: Will there be art and murals?
A: The Campaign supports the installation of public art in the Greenway. This feature would require public interest as well as coordination with local artists and City and Regional Park staff.
Q: Are there any condemned buildings on the Greenway property?
A: There are no condemned buildings on the property, but there are some abandoned building pads. The City planning process includes assessment of toxic substances and historic land uses on the property.
Q: How will emergency responders and safety departments be involved in Greenway planning?
A: The Police and Fire Departments were involved in preparation of the City’s 2015 report, “Southeast Greenway: Existing Conditions, Opportunities, and Constraints”, and will be consulted during preparation of the City land use plan in the coming year. Check out the City’s report and other planning documents at http://planthegreenway.com/documents/.
Q: How will the privacy and security of adjacent property owners be maintained?
A: The City has asked planning consultants to consider how to prevent crime through the design of the Greenway, and the City Police and Fire Departments are involved in the planning process. The Campaign believes that the open and highly visible nature of the Greenway, combined with the expected high level of public use and “eyes on the Greenway”, will discourage trespassing and crime. Adjacent property owners are encouraged to bring forth creative and practical ideas about appropriate measures for privacy and security.
Q: Will volunteer safety patrols be used in the Greenway?
A: This idea has been used successfully in other cities and is a great concept that could be initiated for the Greenway. The Campaign will be working with the Greenway Partnership to develop and maintain a large group of volunteers to develop, patrol and maintain the Greenway.
Q: Won’t the Southeast Greenway have the same problems with homeless, vandalism and crime as the Prince Memorial Greenway or the Santa Rosa Creek path?
A: The Southeast Greenway has a much different location, site characteristics and anticipated types of use. The Southeast Greenway is flat and very open to view, not located in central Santa Rosa, wide enough to have other uses and activities going on and bordered by many dwellings, and we believe there will be a high level of public use. These factors may reduce some of the problems experienced on other local trails.
Q: What will it cost to acquire the property?
A: The cost will be determined through negotiation between Caltrans & the Greenway Partnership based on consideration of highest and best use of the property and factors that may benefit both Caltrans and the community.
Q: How will funds be raised? Will the cost of acquiring the Greenway take money away from other City projects?
A: Purchase of the property from Caltrans is not expected to occur before 2018. Acquisition and development funding will come from a variety of sources that will include both public and non-profit agencies, foundations, individual & corporate donations and grants from County, State and Federal sources.
The Greenway Campaign and the Greenway Partnership are committed to raising the funds needed for acquisition. A grant application has been submitted for acquisition funding from the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. We are considering grant applications for other programs that fund open space, recreation facilities and non-motorized transportation in urban areas. The Greenway Campaign has also begun to solicit and receive donations for acquisition and will be intensifying these efforts in the coming year in conjunction with the Sonoma Land Trust.
Q: How will maintenance and care of the Greenway be funded?
A: The Greenway will be a publicly owned park managed by the City of Santa Rosa Recreation and Parks Department and the Sonoma County Regional Parks Department. The Greenway Campaign and other Greenway Partners are committed to raising funds for development, operation and maintenance of the Greenway. LandPaths will be involved in developing public access and volunteer stewardship for the Greenway.
Q: Will there be a yearly public accounting of costs and funding for the Greenway?
A: Greenway-related expenditures will be included in the annual budgets for the City and County Parks Departments. The Greenway Campaign will gather and report available annual information on costs and funding.
Q: Will there be fees to use the Greenway?
A: The details of any usage fees will be determined later in the park planning process. Pedestrians and bike riders currently can enter City and Regional Parks for free. The Campaign encourages everyone who uses our Regional Parks to purchase an Annual Park Pass.
Q: Will the City zoning of the Greenway land affect surrounding property values?
A: The zoning will be for the Greenway land only. Surrounding property values and taxes will continue to be based on comparable sales in the real estate market. In other cities, property values have either increased or not changed in areas adjacent to urban greenways, and the Campaign is not aware of property value decreases in any areas adjacent to projects similar to the Southeast Greenway.