Started by a group of nature-loving Glen Ellen residents, Eldridge For All - Save Our Space began as a grassroots fundraising campaign supporting permanent preservation of a large portion of Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) property as open space. That will only happen through hard work and careful guidance, which is why we’re helping raise money for Sonoma Ecology Center (SEC), a nonprofit dedicated to achieving and sustaining ecological health in Sonoma Valley.
Almost a year has now passed since the inception of Eldridge For All - Save Our Space, and activity is gearing up on the SDC transition front seeing that the facility officially shut down at the end of 2018. In order to keep the public apprised of current developments, we have broadened our scope to include links to other organizations working towards the goals of 1) protecting SDC wild lands in perpetuity; and 2) envisioning a future for the property that serves the interests of the local community.
Check out some actions you can take right now to weigh in on the subject and make your voice heard by your elected officials by clicking on the "Actions You Can Take" option at the top of this page. And while you're at it, find out more about Sonoma Ecology Center. SEC has been at the forefront of this effort and takes part in several aspects of the SDC transition process. The nonprofit has volunteered hundreds of hours and many resources toward this worthy cause, and needs our help to continue this critical work on behalf of the entire Sonoma Valley.
The SDC/Eldridge Committee of the Glen Ellen Forum recently sent Governor Gavin Newsom and other legislators a letter outlining 1) a vision for the Eldridge property, and 2) a request for financial and administrative resources. To submit your own comments to Governor Newsom, click on the link below.
January 25, 2019
Dear Governor Newsom:
RE: Land Use Planning for Sonoma Developmental Center
For the past five years a broad spectrum of community, nonprofit, and governmental agencies, including the Glen Ellen Forum, have pulled together in a coalition to guide transformation of the Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge.
The Glen Ellen Forum’s vision includes:
These key themes have resonated through time and have been reinforced in countless venues since closure was announced, from small gatherings around kitchen tables to community forums attended by hundreds of people. A petition emphasizing these guiding principles circulated in the summer of 2018, and was signed by more than 3,500 people. This vision has broad-based support both locally and regionally.
We now seek commitments of financial and administrative resources from Eldridge’s current caretaker, the State of California, to provide a stable foundation for implementation of this vision. These include:
Eldridge, as you may be aware, lies completely within the boundaries of the unincorporated community of Glen Ellen. The SDC/Eldridge Committee of the Glen Ellen Forum has spent the past two years reaching out to the community, gathering input, and forging alliances with numerous nonprofits. The people of Glen Ellen, Eldridge, and the greater Sonoma Valley are galvanized by the opportunity to shape the future of the SDC property. We are ready and eager to move forward and we urge you to support a community-led planning process for this important site. Please let us know how we can help.
Dr. Alice Horowitz, Co-Chair, SDC/Eldridge Committee of the Glen Ellen Forum
Vicki Hill, Co-Chair, SDC/Eldridge Committee of the Glen Ellen Forum
Melissa Dowling, President, Glen Ellen Forum Board of Directors
CC Senator Mike McGuire
Senator Bill Dodd
Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry
Assemblymember Marc Levine
Assemblymember Jim Wood
US Congressman Mike Thompson
Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt, Chairman
Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin
US Congressman Mike Thompson
CA Dept. of General Services Director Daniel Kim
Under the theme of Protecting What We Love, the Parent Hospital Association (PHA), Glen Ellen Forum, Sonoma Land Trust and The Eldridge Portraits Project recently served as a host committee to sponsor three events commemorating and honoring the workers, residents and families of SDC. Protecting What We Love captured the true essence of what the services and property represent to Sonoma—a lasting legacy of client care and stewardship of more than 860 acres of land. Each of the event sponsors brought a unique perspective and a history of working together to advocate for the people and the land of SDC. Through the “SDC Coalition” chaired by Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin, these groups have partnered with Sonoma County agencies and other nonprofits to advocate for the needs of SDC residents as they move into community living arrangements, and to call for the preservation of SDC’s 700 acres of open space lands—especially those very special places on the property where time was spent with loved ones. The future of the SDC’s open space and wildlife corridor lands has not yet been determined, but the broader community is working together towards Protecting What We Love.
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