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Recent and future developments; money and awards; and a dry martini

Posted on January 15, 2023 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Whatever the final plan for the Sonoma Developmental Center, it concerns only the 180-acre footprint that is already built out (though most of those old structures will have to come down). The rest is open space. Included in the state budget and pushed by Sens. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, and Mike McGuire, D-North Coast, is a proposal for California State Parks to work with local partners including Sonoma County Regional Parks to ensure the land’s best use. The $3 million allocation would fund oversight of about 765 acres of the 945-acre Sonoma Development Center as open space. The money would cover California State Parks’ equipment and operational costs, and fund projects such as fire mitigation and improvements for habitat and the public. “Recognizing the value of this precious land, we passed a law to preserve it for generations to come. Now we have the means to do it,” Sen. Dodd said. Per McGuire: “SDC is truly a special place. The open space and wildlands have always been a treasured part of the property. Thanks to the state investment, it will be protected forever… That news follows a groundbreaking in December on a new, $700,000 memorial on the site that pays tribute to more than 1,400 people buried in the abandoned SDC cemetery in unmarked graves. The senators were instrumental in securing that funding as well. 

Local architects of the innovative SDC Next 100 Years proposal are waiting to hear if they, or a traditional developer, have been selected by the state’s Dept of General Services. If SDC 100 is chosen the developed land would be in local control in perpetuity, many existing structures will be rehabbed, and the only housing built would be truly affordable. No market rate housing, and no big resort hotel either. For more info, visit You can still write to the DGS in support of it. 

The next Big Discussion out that way will be Hanna Center’s idea for a real estate development for the open space along Arnold Drive and Aqua Caliente, at the roundabout (above). Neighbors have been invited to introductory chats about the project, with formal plans down the road.  

It’s an unfortunate source of funding, but it spends. PG&E has ponied up the first of five annual payments to several Sonoma County nonprofits, part of the deal that resolved criminal and civil charges against PG&E for causing the 2019 Kincade Fire. The $20,250,000 judgment ordered the utility to implement numerous wildfire safety measures in Sonoma County. It further mandates PG&E to hire at least 80 new wildfire safety related positions. The Sonoma Valley Community Health Center is one recipient: it will receive $60,000 annually for five years.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley has earned a Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator. America’s largest and most-utilized independent charity evaluator. It designates BGCSV as an official “Give with Confidence” charity. That’s a big deal in nonprofit circles, “further validation that our supporters can trust our commitment to good governance and financial health,” said BGCSV President & CEO, Cary Snowden… By the way, the org’s annual Sweetheart Gala, this year honoring Chuck & Cathy Williamson, is already sold out. Must be a helluva party… Other upcoming, less formal fundraisers: 13th Annual Chili Bowl at Sonoma Community Center on February 25. Jack to Jack mini yacht race, launched from the Jack London Yacht Club, a.k.a. the patio of the Jack London Saloon in Glen Ellen. March 25. 

The Red Grape can serve itself a beer – Carol and Sam Morphy’s near-the-Plaza pizza restaurant just turned 21. The couple wanted to have a place with perfect New Haven style pizza, and toured the east coast looking for it. The result, at 529 First Street West in the space of the Feed Store Cafe and Bakery and a short-lived brewpub, was named for “the sweet little tomato” that graces many of the menu items. I’ll have a virgin Margherita – that’s no anchovies.

 Jack London State Historic Park’s Young Writers Contest has begun. The program, now in its eighth year, encourages middle school students (grades 6-8) to exercise their writing skills by creating an original 1,500-2,000-word story inspired by the works of Jack London. Words on paper, still a thing. Who knew?

I wish the rain would stop so we can get back to complaining about the drought, offers the Eastsider. Until then, “I’ll slip out of these wet clothes and into a dry martini.”


2 thoughts on “Recent and future developments; money and awards; and a dry martini

  1. To whom should we send a press release with some exciting news about this project? Thanks.

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