Plan update will include an emphasis on health and equity thanks to grant boost from Kaiser Permanente
SANTA ROSA, Calif. – The City of Santa Rosa is seeking input from residents regarding the long-term changes they would like to see in the City, their neighborhood, and their health. Input is being collected through an initial engagement survey that is kicking off the launch of Santa Rosa Forward, the City’s new community-wide effort dedicated to garnering feedback from residents for the City’s General Plan Update (GPU). Residents may complete the survey, which is available in English and Spanish at srcity.org/GPUSurvey.
From resiliency and sustainability to inclusivity and housing, the GPU will determine how the City will develop housing, infrastructure, community amenities, and other improvements, laying the foundation for how the city will grow and change over the coming years and decades. The GPU will also include healthy city policies thanks in large part to a $600,000 Healthy Communities Grant the City received from Kaiser Permanente last year. The grant bolsters the City’s Santa Rosa Forward work towards a healthier and more equitable vision for Santa Rosa’s future in partnership with its residents. In particular, efforts will be focused on fostering engagement with underrepresented local communities, and especially those with limited access to planning activities and those who suffer from greater health disparities than the general population.
“General plans provide a shared vision for the future of our city. They transform the neighborhoods and the environment where people live, work, learn, and play,” said City of Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Rogers. “By integrating a healthy city perspective in the General Plan Update, we will promote health equity by addressing social and environmental determinants of health like housing, transportation, economic opportunities, zoning, and green spaces.”
Funding from Kaiser Permanente’s Healthy Communities grant added a bilingual public health planner to serve on City staff for a 3-year limited term to help with the preparation and approval of the GPU by City Council. This role will engage with a multitude of voices within Santa Rosa — particularly disadvantaged communities and neighborhoods affected by previous wildfires — to help ensure environmental justice and health equity policies are included in the GPU.
“Core to our mission is improving the health of the community we serve,” said Tarek Salaway, Senior Vice President and Area Manager for Kaiser Permanente Marin-Sonoma Service Area. “It is important to support innovative policies and programs like Santa Rosa’s General Plan Update, where a stronger foundation for community health equity is being developed. We are strengthening our efforts to reduce health disparities by including community members with lived experience at the decision-making table as well as engaging nonprofits who provide services to vulnerable communities. Our partnership with Latino Service Providers serves as an excellent example. It has also been a priority for us to support communities impacted by the North Bay fires.”
Residents interested in receiving additional information about the GPU and in learning how they can be involved in the discussion may visit santarosaforward.com.