Graton Green 2018 Celebration
Questions & Answers from the Community
Thank you to all that came to the Graton Green Group (GGG) community meeting this last January. Below are some responses to issues and questions that were brought up about The Graton Green during the meeting.
Q. How will the GGG handle keeping The Green clear of large amounts of trash being dumped at the site and abandoned vehicles?
A. The GGG Board responds that estimating maintenance costs is an ongoing consideration. We will also try to schedule a meeting with county representatives and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department to discuss the issues of trash and abandoned vehicles, plus other concerns – homeless encampments, crime in the park, etc. A Sheriff’s Department representative has told us that when The Green opens, they will add it to their beat.
Cleanliness and safety are always ongoing concerns and part of the responsibility of the GGG Board of Directors. Our philosophy is that we know there will be problems in The Green because that is what happens when you create a public space. However, for every problem that occurs, there will be many, many more moments where the community life is greatly enhanced by having a community space.
Q. How will the GGG prevent people from sleeping in The Green and creating encampments there?
A. The GGG Board believes that the Green will be under constant surveillance by the people living in the new homes on the north of the park which will help with this issue. In addition, see our answer in #1 above about working with the sheriff’s department.
Q. Does the GGG have a clear budget for maintenance?
A. We have contracted with Orrin Thiessen to provide maintenance for the first three years. Also, we will be scheduling “Clean the Green” mornings for major projects like springtime weeding, fall-time leaf raking, etc. These are important events where the community can come together and contribute to our Green.
The GGG Board is constantly at work to create a clear budget for The Green. We have just decided upon our insurance coverage which will be $2,700 a year. As we stated in the community meeting, we expect to have to raise at least $5,000 year to cover insurance and maintenance.
There are several ways the community can help fund the park. Tote bags with art work by Rik Olson are available for purchase at the Graton Gallery. At the GGG website, gratongreen.org, supporters can select license plate holders to support the park, buy memorial bricks, as well as tote bags. (Bricks will most likely be installed this year, so it is anticipated the opportunity to memorialize your loved ones will end sometime this summer.) Please send donations to GGG. P O Box 858, Graton, CA 95444. If anyone would like to help with fund-raising, please contact HolLynn D’Lil at 829 9440.
Q. Will the community end up having to pay for The Green via extra taxes?
A. The Graton Green is supported by the Graton Green Group, a non-profit organization which raises funds for the purchase of the land for The Green and its development. Should interest in supporting the park fail, and community members are not interested in volunteering to serve on the board of directors, the exiting Board of Directors has several options, including consideration of donating The Green to the county, the Graton Community Services District or another public entity.
At this time, we see a vibrant community that will come to enjoy the new park to the extent that there will be many community members who will volunteer to keep it going. For example, the Youth Park in Forestville is more than 50 years old, having started out as bare land and developed slowly over the decades.
Q. Will the GGG create a place for a restroom if funding is to become available, by planning ahead for sewer and water placement?
A. This is a good suggestion and the board has asked the design committee to indicate places on the design where a future restroom facility could be provided. The county requires a 30-foot setback from the creek bank for any structure over 30 inches, so we are a bit limited in this small 1/2 acre park which already has several fixed features. The decision to provide a restroom is a future decision greatly dependent on the willingness of the community to fund and maintain. Also, we would need to consider how providing a restroom will affect our work to discourage homeless encampments on or near The Green.
Q. Is it possible to provide a barbeque area?
A. At this time, the GGG Board has developed a policy that excludes fires on the property. The Graton Green is only one half acre which includes fixed features – the creek, the water tower, the redwood trees surrounding five water tanks in the center, and a large hard surface to support trucks maintaining the water system. Once development has been accomplished, and if it appears to be safe and if it is determined that a barbeque area is needed, the subject of allowing fires in the park will be revisited. As stated above, however, such a consideration will have to include discussions of how a fire facility will impact efforts to keep The Green clear of encampments.
Q. Do we want to have a Community Garden?
A. This question is still under consideration and will greatly depend upon community interest in a community garden. Though the proposed design shows the placement of a community garden, we have a ways to go, starting with the basics – planting about 50 trees, putting in the pathways, providing a stage for the water tower amphitheater, providing benches and picnic tables etc. It’s all a great adventure, and we don’t know exactly how The Green will look ultimately. It will all depend upon community support and involvement. The Board would also like to involve local artists in all of this development.
Q. Will dogs be allowed in the green?
A. We have explored this issue at length. The cost of providing bags, trash cans and the maintenance for such, plus the liability of having pets on the property, raises our insurance and maintenances costs significantly. In addition, many parents in the area and others expressed concerns that the park is too small for that many animals to pass through.
We have talked to Sonoma County Regional Park Rangers who said that they generally recommend that small private parks have a “no pets” policy due to the difficulty consistently staying on top of poop clean up and removal by volunteers – and the expense of hiring out the task. Some regional parks don’t allow pets – even though the regional park system has a large staff. In addition, we want to encourage a habitat for birds, especially, since they are drawn to the creek.
We believe there are many places to take pets, including the West County Trail. We would like to keep the green free of pet poop and urine so that we have a place for our children and ourselves to enjoy without the odors and possibilities of infections, plus the sometimes aggressive interactions of the animals.
Q. Will a cell tower be put in the green?
A. A cell tower is not in the plan.
The GGG Board greatly appreciates the enthusiasm of the community and will work hard for you and with you to make the dreams for this wonderful addition of the community come true as soon as is possible.
HolLynn D’Lil, president
Graton Green Group Board of Directors
with assistance by Directors Ellen Kaplan Cheek and Liz Junge
The little village of Graton with all its charm still lacks a public gathering space and we are asking you to help us change that for us and our future generations.
We are a small, grass roots nonprofit group of parents, grandparents, neighbors, and Gratonians who have an opportunity to get a dollar-for-dollar matching grant from the Sonoma County Open Space District in order to create a park. The approximately half acre park site includes the Graton Critch, a seasonal creek. There are some mature trees, including a grouping of Redwoods. The site is along the West County Regional Trail, a trail system starting in Sebastopol and ending in Forestville, used by both local and visiting folks for walking and biking.
This is a tremendous opportunity to obtain prime park space for Graton. Included in the purchase will be basic infrastructure for the park, including some improvements in the area of grading, planting of native grasses, path creation, partial development of the water tower as an amphitheater and all sidewalk and curb improvements. In other words, when we acquire the park, we will have a useable property, ready for future improvements as decided by the community.
The park will provide a variety of opportunities for its visitors: a nice place to stop and enjoy a rest, used as a large outdoor meeting place, a spot for a lunch break or to take your to-go order from one of our wonderful local restaurants, a place for children and adults to explore, laugh, play and get to know their neighbors.
It cannot be done without your support. This is your chance to leave a legacy to our little town that can!
Park Meeting, November 16, 2017 7:30pm
Here is the agenda for the park meeting on November 16 at 7:30, Graton Community Club:
- Welcome and introductions by John Lowry
- History by HolLynn, including the Open Space grant we just received
- Process of Taking Ownership of the land by Richard.
- Opportunities for Community Involvement by Richard and Stephanie. Richard will outline the times that the community can become involved in completing the agreement with Open Space. Stephanie will be introduced as the Design Committee
Hope to see you there!
News Flash, October 25, 2016
Acting as the board for the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, the county supervisors today approved a grant of $103,000 to be matched by the Graton Green Group for the purchase of land for a Graton park! (Bordered by Edison, Shirley and Bowen Streets.) They were very complimentary about the community’s work for the last ten years to achieve this park and said they were proud to be part of this wonderful project.
Congratulations everyone! We’ve been able to block off the street once a year to celebrate our community as in our beloved Graton Days. Soon we’ll have a place where community can gather every day – our own Graton Park!
Please come celebrate and participate in a community meeting to talk about our park November 16th, starting at 7:30 at the Graton Community Club!