Depot Park eyed for upgrades in ‘urban recreation corridor’ proposal
The start-up city effort to form a de facto parks and recreation department is coming before city panels with an inaugural plan: A significant facelift for one of Sonoma’s core leisure activity areas, Depot Park.
Located just a few hundred yards north of the Sonoma Plaza, Depot Park is a 4.6-acre park containing its eponymous Depot Park Museum, run by the Sonoma Valley Historical Society; bocce ball and petanque courts; a children’s playground, volleyball courts, picnic and barbecue areas; and public restrooms, with a pedestrian/bike path bisecting it.
It’s also adjacent to Arnold Field, whose parking lot is used year-round for the Sonoma Valley Certified Farmers Market on Friday mornings, and creates an open-space corridor from the Plaza to the Mountain Cemetery and the Overlook Trail.
In a report to the Community Service and Environment Commission, which will review the proposal at its March 10 meeting, city staff is recommending “the first steps in creation of an urban recreation corridor,” including improved public bathrooms, water-bottle filling stations, bicycle parking, trash cans and other park enhancements, as well as signage connecting all the nearby outdoor features.
“City staff sees this project as a small step toward a larger program of connecting the city’s assets to make them easier to navigate and use by the community,” adds the report, prepared by Public Works Director Colleen Ferguson and Senior Management Analyst Lisa Janson ‒ with input from the Recreation Task Force headed by resident Karen Collins.
Also in the plan are two “bioretention areas” ‒ landscape and drainage features that collect storm water runoff and remove pollutants before they enter local creeks or the aquifer.
The estimated budget for the project is not included in the proposal, which is intended to outline the project with its “final scope being presented to City Council” during the 2021-2022 budgeting process. However, the City of Sonoma received $131,795 of the Measure M tax revenue ‒ out of $12.3 million raised by the 1/8-cent sales tax benefiting county parks ‒ during the 2019-2020 fiscal year. (The city allocates $35,000 to $55,000 annually to maintaining the Montini Preserve, just north of Depot Park.)
The Community Services and Environment Commission will consider the proposal at its meeting March 10, 6 p.m. via Zoom at zoom.us/j/95812684420. Two new members are set to join the CSEC that meeting: John Donnelly, former chair of the Overlook Trail and a city Conservationist of the Year, was appointed by Councilmember Amy Harrington at the city council’s March 1 meeting; and Richard Weiss, a former travel executive with Backroads and others, was appointed by Councilmember Madolyn Agrimonti. Both are Sonoma residents.
Other committee members include Fred Allebach, chair; Kimberly Blattner, Matt Metzler, David Morell, and Angelo Sassi, alternate. More about the CSEC at sonomacity.org/community-services-environment-commission.
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