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Graton Community Park Plans
Graton Community Park Plans

Matching Grants for Parks

Mar 25, 2018
by Lynda Hopkins, 5th District Supervisor - Sonoma County

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The Sonoma County Agriculture and Open Space District does, which is one of the reasons why it, under the guidance of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, offers a matching grant program that enables nonprofits and public agencies, including the county’s nine cities, to apply for funding for community and urban open space projects. Over the history of the matching grant program, the Ag & Open Space District has provided more than $33 million in funding. 

2018 marked the start of a new funding cycle. Applications are due soon, with April 30 set as the deadline for any organization or public agency to put forward projects that meet specific criteria established in the matching grant program.

What’s the criteria? 

In a nutshell, the matching grant program is intended to create vibrant lands and inviting spaces within our cities and unincorporated communities and at the urban edge, providing an opportunity for residents and visitors alike to experience open space within and near Sonoma County’s population centers. Matching grant projects have the potential to transform communities, providing places to find solitude, for public gatherings, to recreate and to experience and learn about natural resources and agriculture and their important in the landscape. 

The Fifth District has received many funds from the Ag & Open Space District’s Matching Grant Program. During the last two funding cycles in 2014 and 2016, the Board of Supervisors approved funding for the acquisition and development ofAndy’s Unity Park and the Graton Green Community Park, development of the Roseland Village Public Space, which is getting ready for development. Sebastopol’s Skategarden Park expanded to include a children’s play structure and picnic areas, thanks to the matching grant program. In addition, the Board of Supervisors approved funding for the acquisition of River Lane and the Roseland Community Park Land for future development. 

Do you have an idea for a neighborhood park in your town?

Anyone interested in learning more about the program or applying can visit sonomaopenspace.org or email Jennifer Kuszmar at Jennifer.kuszmar@sonoma-county.org. Interested parties can also email myself or my staff for additional help. Remember, all applications must be received by Monday, April 30 at 5 p.m.

In other news...

Our first informational meeting for a municipal advisory council (MAC) in the Lower Russian River area was a big hit. We had more than 200 people turn out to the Guerneville Veterans Memorial Building  on the last Saturday of February to learn about MACs. I’m personally excited about the feedback and input we received from those who attended regarding representation, membership and issues the MAC could eventually tackle.

Some themes include:

Representation by geographic region. People who attended the meeting favored having MAC board members from each community in the Lower Russian River, as opposed to representation by other associations or boards already in existence, such as the fire or school districts. 

The majority of individuals who attended and participated liked the idea of holding a good old fashioned caucus as a way to choose or elect board members. People also liked the idea of combining an application process with a caucus.

Residents who attended described top issues in the Lower Russian River communities as housing for the homeless, vacation rental over-saturation, improving garbage services and updating aging septic systems/infrastructures These are great topics for the MAC to tackle, once it is set up.

The timeline for establishing the MAC is still an open question as it’s a complicated process, but I am hopeful we will have a board sitting and holding its first meeting by the beginning of 2019. In the meantime, we will host another meeting at the end of April to solidify specifics and open up the application process.

Please keep your eye out on social media and in the local press for a specific date. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email my field representative, Amie Windsor (Amie.windsor@sonoma-county.org). 

Upcoming dates...

Saturday, March 31: Sonoma County Coast MAC informational meeting, Jenner Community Center 1-3 p.m.
Thursday, April 5: Bodega Bay Town Hall, Bodega Bay  Grange,  6:30 -8 p.m.

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