In light of the April 5 agreement between Sonoma County and the State of California concerning disposition of the 1,000-acre Sonoma Developmental Center property, we would like to thank everyone who signed a petition, wrote a letter, made a donation, spoke a word of encouragement, or uttered a prayer on behalf of this priceless public treasure. Without your support, this deal could easily have gone the way of every other shuttered developmental center—surplussed and sold to the highest bidder. Thanks to the combined efforts of county and state staff, elected officials, and pressure exerted by the community, we now have three more years to do something truly historic. We have three years to creatively plan for a future that meets pressing needs for housing and jobs, addresses issues of climate change and sustainability, and respects and preserves the environmental, historical, and cultural resources that make this property such a unique and valuable asset.
Yes, we have some breathing room, but a difficult road lies ahead. Crafting a community-driven specific land-use plan for Eldridge is a monumental task that will require tremendous time, effort, and expense. Now is not the time to sit back and let others do all the heavy lifting. Now is the time to double down on our commitment to ensuring an outcome that benefits our community, our wildlife, and future generations seeking recreation, inspiration, and healing in the property’s open spaces. Now is the time to get more involved, share your wealth and/or talents, attend a meeting, voice your opinion. In the upcoming months, the community will be asked, at workshops and in public meetings, to define a vision for the site. We will be asked to develop and review land use alternatives and provide input on design guidelines, as well as quantities and types of housing, commercial space, etc. Your input is required.
Participation in the grassroots effort to shape the future of the SDC has opened our eyes to the fact that, like an intricate spiderweb, the strength of our community lies in our interconnectivity. While frame threads connect multiple anchor points and give the spiderweb its shape, it is the radius threads, from center to frame, that hold the web together, give it strength, and make it a home. Like radius threads, every heartfelt action you have taken to further the cause of protecting the SDC, no matter how small, has made this movement that much stronger and helped define a vision for a future Eldridge that, if realized, we can all be proud of.
We often don’t notice spiderwebs until something forces us to see them, such as dewdrops clinging to seemingly delicate threads or the frantic movements of an insect as it desperately tries to free itself, the threads not so delicate after all. Similarly, the firestorm of 2017 and closure of the SDC have forced us all to take greater notice of the many ties that bind us together as a community. Some of these ties are in dire need of repair, but—as evidenced by the April 5 agreement on the future of the SDC—a great web of interconnectivity continues to hold us aloft as the winds of changes shift. Thank you for doing your part.
-- Alice Horowitz, curator of eldridgeforall.org
Every penny of every donation goes directly to paying for the lawsuit. Both SCALE and Sonoma County Tomorrow, Inc. rely entirely on hard working volunteers; no paid staff.