Apr 22, 2020
Many events were cancelled this spring due to the COVID-19 Corona Virus “Shelter in Place” stipulations from the Sonoma County Department of Public Health. But a nice poignant event occurred on Weds. April, 15 at 10:45 am at Southwest Community Park. Santa Rosa Parks Department employee Dean Hamlin raised an American Flag on the flagpole to replace an old torn one.
The “new” one is actually a recycled “Casket flag” from the burial ceremony of a deceased Veteran of the US Military. The flag, and others like it, are donated to the city by Theodore Roosevelt, Post 21, of the American Legion.
Coincidentally, Santa Rosa was recently in the national news because the Captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt Nuclear Aircraft Carrier is from Santa Rosa. Captain Brett Crozier, is a 1988 Santa Rosa High School graduate. He became a Navy Aviator after graduating from the US Naval Academy in 1992. Currently he is quarantined due to the COVID-19 Corona Virus which has killed one of his crewmembers while infecting many more sailors.
Roseland Review salutes Captain Crozier, and also Dean from the parks department who respectfully replaced the American flag at Southwest Community Park. While watching the flag go up in the nearly deserted and silent park thoughts of how to improve the park came to mind.
Southwest Community Park was dedicated to the residents of the Bellevue and Roseland Districts by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on June 4, 1988. The County built the 19.8 acre park in the rural areas of Bellevue School District and Roseland School District before the city grew so quickly out to the southwest. The city encircled the area with a large annexation of land surrounding the area in 1995 to allow for the building of the Bellevue Ranch subdivision. Dean talked with Roseland Review about how it would be nice to try and get another full-sized soccer field into the park.
There could also be another full-sized Basketball court installed right next to the existing 2 full courts often in full use, especially on weekends. A full-sized Volleyball court could also be built in the same vicinity of the park considering there is already a “make-shift” court being used on the hard packed dirt near the basketball courts. Since at least 1996 some city employees have said no new development can occur at the park until more environmental studies have been done to rule out if California Tiger Salamander (CTS) still exist near the site. A portion of the park is fenced off to be “habitat” for the CTS but it seems they died long ago at this site at least.
The city recently used the northwestern potion of the park for a staging area for some heavy equipment used in the rebuilding of Stony Point Rd. Surely if they were able to get environmental clearance at the park for the road building project they should be able to let more sports sites go forward at the park. Twenty years ago when local residents were in discussions to use a modular building at the same spot for a temporary library branch they were told by city staff that “CTS studies had to be done”. The city has used the site for the heavy equipment, and for an unpaved dirt parking lot for many years. It is time to revisit the question of improving Southwest Community Park for the needs of the current residents and their children.
This will be much less expensive than trying to build new sites elsewhere. Santa Rosa will be in debt for many years to come trying to dig out for the financial hit to the budget from the COVID-19 Pandemic response. The park is currently a deserted, quiet spot while it is locked down.
Though the daily drunks are still there, hiding in the back under one of the gazebos, it is a pleasant sight to see the well-kept park this spring.
The first Basketball Courts were donated by Exchange Bank in 1992 to honor Warren Dutton. Perhaps they can help again? Now would be a good time to reach out for “volunteer” help to get more amenities into Southwest Community Park for the future of the fast-growing Bellevue district.
Hundreds of housing units are being built in the area by Burbank Housing Development Company and others. Basketball players, Soccer players, and Volleyball players would all benefit from improving Southwest Community Park as soon as possible. Recycle the land to serve the local residents now that the CTS are gone from there.
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