Imagine a place where kids explore babbling creeks and old orchards, families gather together to share a meal, community members harvest fresh vegetables from a shared garden, and cyclists pass through on their way to work or play.
Did you picture all of this happening in the middle of Santa Rosa?
For the past forty years, a two-mile long ribbon of land from Farmers Lane to Summerfield Road has lain fallow, the remnants of an abandoned plan to expand Highway 12 through the middle of Santa Rosa and through the area we know today as Spring Lake Regional Park. Thanks to the perseverance and vision of a passionate group of community members, that land is about to be transformed from a vacant lot into a new urban greenway park and open space called the Southeast Greenway.
Community Foundation Sonoma County is proud to be supporting the vision for the Southeast Greenway with a $250,000 grant to Sonoma Land Trust for the acquisition of the 47-acre property. This grant was made possible through the generous legacy of donors Hazel and Roland Todd. “This is a tremendous opportunity to create our own ‘Central Park’ in the heart of Santa Rosa and we’re so proud to support Sonoma Land Trust in this effort,” says Elizabeth Brown, president and CEO of Community Foundation Sonoma County.
Some of the proposed features of the Southeast Greenway plan include paths for cyclists and pedestrians; community gardens; pocket parks; art displays; new opportunities for outdoor community gathering, engagement, and education; and restoration of natural areas. Best of all, the park will be free and accessible to all residents of Santa Rosa. “Sonoma Land Trust recognizes that most Californians live in urban areas with limited access to open space; we are excited to play a part in this one-time opportunity to bring nature within a short walk of many city residents,” says Wendy Eliot, Sonoma Land Trust’s conservation director.
The Greenway vision began in 2009 when community members recognized that this vacant property could, one day, be transformed into a greenway for Santa Rosa and formed the Santa Rosa Southeast Greenway Campaign. Today the project is led by a strategic coalition of agency and nonprofit partners who share the Southeast Greenway Campaign’s vision, including the City of Santa Rosa, Sonoma Land Trust, Sonoma County Water Agency, Sonoma County Regional Parks, and LandPaths.
The Southeast Greenway is a vision by and for the community for the long-term well-being of Santa Rosa residents. There are many ways to get involved: to learn more, we encourage you to visit https://southeastgreenway.org/.