The City of Santa Rosa has been awarded a $20.6 million Infill Infrastructure Grant (IIG) from the State of California to assist with six housing projects in the greater downtown area, including an affordable housing complex to be constructed on the site of the former Bennett Valley Senior Center, and improvements at Martin Luther King Jr. Park (MLK Park). The City received notification from the California Department of Housing and Community Development as part of its Round 8 IIG Awards announcement.
“These funds for infrastructure improvements and site preparation will fill a gap and help eliminate a final barrier to breaking ground on these projects, bringing much-needed, affordable housing to our community, said Megan Basinger, Director of Housing and Community Development for the City of Santa Rosa.
“Santa Rosa continues to be a regional leader in getting housing built for working families,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire. “This nearly $21 million in state funding will help combat our housing crisis and improve neighborhoods for generations to come.”
The six residential projects supported by the grant are all within one mile of Downtown Santa Rosa, spreading from Roseland to South Park and into central Santa Rosa. The new housing will be a mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, and low to moderate income housing, as well as market rate units. It will cost approximately $250 million to build the six developments, which will be funded through a compilation of public and private funding. [BM1] The $20.6 million IIG funds will be used for ancillary development costs such as offsite infrastructure improvements and utility connections.
“This grant and the projects supported by it provide desperately needed community investment and revitalization in our County seat and largest city,” said Supervisor David Rabbitt, Chair of the Renewal Enterprise District (RED), which was formed by the City of Santa Rosa and County of Sonoma to promote and facilitate housing and community development regionally. “For years, we have been working tirelessly to move these housing projects forward. Funding has always been a challenge. I am thrilled to partner with the State of California to get these projects moving as quickly as possible to create attractive, affordable housing and community space.”
The housing development projects supported by the grant funds include Ponderosa Village in Roseland, Caritas Homes Phase II on 7th Street, Bennett Valley Apartments on Bennett Valley Road, Pullman Lofts Phase III on Wilson Street, Downtown Station on W. 6th Street, and 556 Ross Street. Additionally, $5.4 million will be reserved to renovate the City’s MLK Park on Hendley Street. Central elements of the re-envisioned park include an all-weather turf soccer field with lighting, a new and improved playground, pathways, picnic areas, court re-surfacing, a new restroom building, park signage, updated furnishings, and landscaping throughout the site.
The $20.6 million IIG award is in addition to a $9.5 million IIG award received by the City during Round 7, which provided funding for four additional Santa Rosa housing projects, including the Cannery at Railroad Square and Caritas Homes Phase I, as well as road improvements at 3rd and B Streets. Both grant applications were prepared in collaboration with RED.
“RED was formed for the very purpose of using new, collaborative approaches to accelerate the pace of infill housing production near transit,” said City of Santa Rosa Councilmember and RED Board Member Victoria Fleming. “Taking a team approach, the RED coordinated creative action across jurisdictions and disciplines to ensure the grant applications were in the strongest possible competitive positions, and the effort paid off. The award of these grants will be transformational in addressing our community’s critical need to build climate-smart, equity-centered housing for all who live and work here."