Over $25 million approved by State of CA for Roseland Village affordable housing and public transit expansion

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Sacramento, CA – Over $25 million was approved today by the State of California that will provide a huge boost in the development of the transformational Roseland Village project.

Senator McGuire, the County of Sonoma, the City of Santa Rosa, SMART and MidPen Housing have been working together to secure the funds for over a year. The newly secured allocation represents a huge shot in the arm for the long planned development on Sebastopol Road, which will result in a mix of affordable and market rate homes, retail, and civic spaces which will become the heart of the thriving Roseland community.

“These funds represent a massive down payment in the revitalization of the Roseland Village Shopping Center which will include 75 units of desperately needed affordable housing. For years, Roseland neighbors along with County and City leaders have been working to move this transformational project forward and it’s exciting to see their hard work pay off,” said Senator McGuire. “The State was truly impressed with the City and County’s vision and unified approach and we couldn’t be more thrilled to partner.”

This transformational project, the result of over 10 years of planning and outreach, adds 75 units of affordable housing that directly connects to the 8.5-mile long Joe Rodota Trail. It also closes a key pathway gap in the Trail, connecting it to downtown Santa Rosa and the SMART Station via a new bike and pedestrian crossing on Third Street. The gap closure creates 10 miles of continuous pathway from the SMART Santa Rosa North station to Sonoma Mountain Village in Rohnert Park, while also connecting to the Joe Rodota Trail to Sebastopol.

“This gap closure will create nearly 20 miles of uninterrupted pathway in Sonoma County, and connect Roseland residents to Downtown Santa Rosa and transit services.  I’m so pleased that residents will be able to easily access the main transit corridors and have more opportunities for walking and bicycling,” said Shirlee Zane, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and member of the SMART Board of Directors.

Additionally, a workforce partnership with JobLink of Sonoma County will train and place low income residents into quality careers on site.

“The City of Santa Rosa and County of Sonoma formed the Renewal Enterprise District (RED) for the very purpose of using new, collaborative approaches to accelerate the pace of infill housing production near transit. Taking a team approach, the RED coordinated creative action across jurisdictions and disciplines to ensure the grant applications were in the strongest possible competitive positions, and the effort paid off.  The award of these grants will be transformational in addressing our community’s critical need to build climate smart, equity centered housing in alignment with our collective values,” said Santa Rosa Vice Mayor Victoria Fleming, Chair of the Renewal Enterprise District Board of Directors. 

The funding award includes $5M towards the SMART rail extension to the Town of Windsor, including the new station platform in Downtown Windsor. The positive impacts on air quality from the estimated greenhouse gas emission reductions from the Windsor Extension were instrumental in the proposal scoring so high. 

Additionally, by locating affordable housing in a central location with ease of access to public transit, the result is a significant reduction in the number of vehicle miles traveled by people in cars. SMART riders to date, travel an average of 25 miles per train trip.

“This project is a true win-win-win, and it underscores the importance of multi-agency collaboration. Having a clear understanding of how the transportation network is tied to economic development and how all of these components work together, enabled us to successfully compete for funding,” said David Rabbitt, Sonoma County Supervisor and member of the SMART and Renewable Enterprise District Board of Directors. 

Fifth District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins added: “This project provides long-overdue community investment and revitalization to the Roseland community. For years, we have been working tirelessly to move this project forward. Funding has always been a challenge. I am thrilled to partner with the State of California to get this project moving forward as quickly as possible to create beautiful housing and community space.”

The grant award also includes an additional $4.1 million for City of Santa Rosa projects that will upgrade bus stops and transit hubs on Santa Rosa’s high-frequency bus transit corridors benefitting Santa Rosa CityBus, Sonoma County Transit, and Golden Gate Transit riders; improve bus service in southwest Santa Rosa and support electrification of the City’s transit fleet; provide free access to the CityBus system for Roseland Village residents; fill gaps in pedestrian infrastructure in southwest Santa Rosa; and establish a new pedestrian crossing on Third Street adjacent to the Downtown Santa Rosa SMART Station.

“Historically, Santa Rosa CityBus serves a ridership of 1.9 million riders annually. This award will help to improve the system they rely on, enhance connections to SMART service, and encourage more citizens to access public transit service throughout the region. The funding also provides the opportunity for the City to improve infrastructure to support walking and biking to get more citizens out of their vehicles,” said Mayor Tom Schwedhelm. “We are extremely excited about the benefits and opportunities that these projects will provide for our community.”

Today’s grant approval by California’s Strategic Growth Council represents a major step forward for this innovative mixed-use, mixed-income housing and community development model.

“The disparate impact of COVID-19 on minority and low-income households reminds us of the critical role quality housing plays in ensuring community health and wellness,” said Matthew O. Franklin, President and CEO of MidPen Housing. “Roseland Village will be home to a broad range of individuals and families, including those who are most at risk today. We’re excited for the opportunity to develop this vibrant community which will promote health and well-being for its members and economic vitality for the region.”

Beginning in 2005, through a series of community meetings, the vision was created for the future of the Sebastopol Road Corridor. 

“The Community Development Commission is proud to have led the effort to redevelop the Roseland Village Shopping Center for the past decade since purchasing the property in 2011. The affordable housing, community green space and public uses that have been promised to the Roseland community are finally becoming a reality,” said Interim Executive Director Barbie Robinson. “We are thrilled to be working with all of our partners on what will become a great community asset.” 

Additionally, a state Infill Infrastructure Grant was approved today that will pour an additional more than $11 million into not only the Roseland Village development affordable and market rate housing, but also two affordable and market rate housing projects in downtown Santa Rosa. 

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