By a 6-0 vote, Santa Rosa City Council approved the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines and acquisition of a six-acre municipal use project on Hearn Avenue in southwest Santa Rosa.
The property acquisition allows the City to move forward on plans for the future extension of Dutton Avenue and the Colgan Creek Multi-Use Path, and for one or more public uses, potentially including the relocation of Santa Rosa Fire Station 8, a new Library, a community center and pool, a recreation center, and/or a neighborhood park.
During the property selection process, the City Real Estate Services team and Sonoma County Library worked in coordination to identify and analyze potential locations in the Roseland/southwest area of Santa Rosa, with the Library looking closely at demographics and accessibility to help guide their site selection. The Hearn Avenue site was selected in part due to its close proximity to neighborhood schools and provides the library with the flexibility to grow and adapt along with the community.
Santa Rosa Vice Mayor Eddie Alvarez dreamed of this project even before he was elected to the city council, to represent Roseland. “This is a major investment by the city in equity and community amenities in this vibrant and underserved part of the city,” Alvarez said. “Many speak of inclusion but here we are definitely proving it, we are letting the people of southwest Santa Rosa know that their voices are being heard.”
The City and Sonoma County Library plan to obtain community input regarding proposed design and amenities for the Hearn Avenue location. A bilingual community needs assessment will launch in 2022, to determine the best uses of space, library collections, and programming. The project will be constructed in phases as funding allows, with the first phase expected to break ground in 2023/2024.
“Libraries are so much more than books, events and programs,” said Sonoma County Library Director Ann Hammond. “The 21st Century library is a community hub for learning, exploration and connection. As we plan our new hub, we are grateful to hundreds of dedicated people who have advocated for this project for many years. We’re especially appreciative to the Santa Rosa City Council, for its strong partnership and visionary $10 million investment in this project.”
City Council allocated local funds for the purchase of the three Hearn Avenue properties and allocated $10 million from the PG&E settlement funds to develop a new library complex for Roseland area residents. According to Hammond, that commitment spurred others to support a new library as well, with $1 million allocated by State Assemblymember Marc Levine, and strong interest from the philanthropic community. Sales tax funds collected by the library over the past five years will also be allocated to help outfit the new library.
“As Santa Rosa grows to its west, the need for equitable services for Roseland and all of the southwest area of the community has become more evident,” said Santa Rosa City Councilmember Natalie Rogers, who represents a district adjacent to Roseland. “This new library and community center will serve all of us,” Rogers said, “and will help support generations to come.”
Along with the project, the city has plans to enhance public transit, and study bicycle and pedestrian access from the commercial area of Roseland along Sebastopol Road. Students and families in the Roseland, Bellevue and Wright school districts will find a full-service library, with outdoor recreation and convenient parking part of the project.
Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Rogers has been a staunch supporter of the library project. “This is a matter of equity and parity,” said Rogers. “These are the first steps that allows us to realize the vision that we have heard articulated from our community.”
About the Sonoma County Public Library
The Sonoma County Library is a countywide system, encompassing all nine cities and the unincorporated areas. A Joint Powers Agreement created in 1975, and revised in 2014, established the library as a separate public agency. Today, the library serves half a million county residents, at 12 regional libraries, two rural stations, three special collections, and a wide variety of digital resources.
Sonoma County Library
City Real Estate Services