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Forestville could get a village green

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 | Posted by

After a lot of hard work, it appears Forestville is on the verge of getting a village green. Grants have come through that could provide major funding if, and it is a big if, the town can raise $250,000 by July 31.

The land in question is eight acres the town has traditionally used as a gathering place for many occasions including its annual Christmas Tree Lighting. Developer Orrin Thiessen acquired the property intending to erect a business center and 55 town homes, and local outcry quickly persuaded him to include a public gathering area. Since then Thiessen went bankrupt and the acreage has been held by a bank. Now the town by coming up with matching funds can get Open Space funding and purchase the land.

The Forestville Planning Association has also obtained matching funds from Sonoma County Regional Parks to develop a trailhead to extend the West County Trail, a very popular hiking and bicycle trail. The county would also contribute $75,000 towards maintenance.

If the town obtains the acreage proposals for its use include trailhead parking, a dog park, a town square, picnic benches, a gazebo and a stage.

According to a paper published by the FPA this is a unique opportunity for Forestville. “For only $250,000 in community contributions we can not only acquire eight acres for town use previously valued at $1.5 million but will have close to $400,000 worth of improvements through the Parks Department as part of the deal. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and it’s within our reach.”

According to Richard Naegle of FPA so far $120,000 has been raised. An appeal has gone out to individuals and businesses for pledges. The website www.95436.org has a pledge form. A town meeting is planned for Saturday May 18 from4 to 6 p.m. at the Oddfellows Hall at the corner of Covey Rd. and Hwy. 116.

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Andrea Granahan is our West County correspondent.
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