May 23, 2019
TheGraton Green Groupand Sonoma County Ag + Open Space are pleased to announce the grand opening of Graton Green (Green) – a half-acre property located just off Graton Road (between Bowen and Edison Streets) in the heart of the community. As the only public park in Graton, the Green is conveniently located along the West County Trail and includes seating areas, walkways, and a creek. The Green is also adjacent to Green Valley Village – ten new single-family lots that open onto the park.
Sonoma County Ag + Open Space provided $103,124 in funding toward the acquisition of the property through its Matching Grant Program, which provides funding to public agencies and nonprofits for open space protection within Sonoma County communities for agriculture, community recreation, natural resource restoration, and public access. During the 2016 Matching Grant funding cycle, Ag + Open Space awarded funding to the Graton Green Group, a non-profit organization that began working in 2007 to create a public park and gathering space for residents of the town. In 2015, the Graton Green Group began working with developer Orrin Thiessen on an agreement to purchase the park property and to design the park’s recreational amenities. As match for the project, the Graton Green Group provided nearly $60,000 in funding to acquire the property and will complete initial park improvements.
“We’re thrilled that with the help of Ag + Open Space, the Graton Green is permanently protected as open space, which will be a benefit to those of us living in Graton now and for generations to come,” said HolLyn D’Lil, president of the Graton Green Group.“The opening of this park is the culmination of over a decade of hard work and dedication by our community, and we’re grateful to Ag + Open Space and Orrin Thiessen for helping to make our dream a reality.”
The property is dotted with oak and redwood trees, and includes a tributary to Atascadero Creek with associated willow trees and riparian vegetation along the southern boundary. The Green also features an abandoned water tower dating back to the 1920s. In 1987, the tank was removed but the steel structure remains. The new park will include improved landscaping, seating areas, pathways, a community garden, and a stage for community events beneath the water tower.
“This long-awaited park will provide a host of benefits to Graton residents and visitors alike,” said Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, who sits on the Ag + Open Space Board of Directors and whose district includes the Green. “For the first time since the 1980s, individuals and families that live in Graton will have a public place to gather and play, and cyclists and pedestrians using the beloved West County Trail will have a rest spot between Sebastopol and Forestville. This is the type of creative public-private partnership we should continue to seek throughout the county to protect our open spaces and provide our community with opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.”
As a condition of the grant funding and associated Matching Grant Agreement, Ag + Open Space received a conservation easement to ensure the conservation values of the property are protected in perpetuity, and a recreation covenant to ensure the property remains open to the public forever.
More details at www.gratongreen.org.
About Sonoma County Ag + Open Space
Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (Ag + Open Space) is a special district that permanently protects the diverse agricultural, natural resource and scenic open space lands of Sonoma County for future generations. Funded by a quarter-cent sales tax approved by voters in 1990 and reauthorized in 2006, the district has protected over 117,000 acres to date, and will continue to steward these and future protected lands forever. For more information, visitwww.sonomaopenspace.org.
About the Matching Grant Program
Through the Ag + Open Space Expenditure Plan, Sonoma County’s voters have authorized the agency to fund urban open space, restoration, and recreation projects through a competitive Matching Grant Program available to cities, the County, other public agencies, and non-profit organizations.
Since 1994, this unique program has provided over $33 million in funding towards projects in all of the county’s nine incorporated cities and in multiple unincorporated areas, allowing our city, county, and non-profit partners to leverage funding to develop diverse and innovative projects throughout Sonoma County’s communities. A few examples include Sonoma Garden Park in Sonoma, the Prince Memorial Greenway and Bayer Neighborhood Park and Gardens in Santa Rosa, Tomodachi and Skategarden Parks in Sebastopol, Giorgi Park in Healdsburg, the Windsor Town Green, and the protection and enhancement of Petaluma Marsh. Applications for the Program are solicited every two years.
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