Senator McGuire Fights and Wins for Santa Rosa’s Southeast Greenway

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Santa Rosa— Senator McGuire has negotiated a huge win for Santa Rosa’s own ‘Central Park’ – the Southeast Greenway project. Thirteen years in the making, the agreement will ensure the State releases 47 acres (a total of 2 contiguous miles) that was once going to be a four-lane extension of Highway 12. The Greenway will be transformed in the coming years into an urban wonderland of trails, parks and desperately needed affordable housing. 

“With this agreement now hammered out, the Southeast Greenway will become an urban recreational wonderland that will enhance the lives of tens of thousands of Santa Rosa families and residents for decades to come,” said Senator McGuire. “The community had spoken years ago – they didn’t want a highway extension and they had a dream to move the Greenway Project forward. Today, because of their hard work and the collaboration between the State Department of Transportation, the CA Department of General Services, the State Housing and Community Development Department and the City of Santa Rosa, that dream has become a reality. I’m excited to partner with the City Council, neighbors and the Greenway Partners to transform this property into a beautiful urban park and housing for working families and seniors.” 

Plans for the two-mile long tract of greenspace include community gardens, trails, natural open spaces, picnic areas, ball parks, and walking and biking paths, with 10 acres set aside for affordable housing development, in the heart of east Santa Rosa. 

Residents who live around the Greenway, which connects Spring Lake Park and Farmers Lane, first came together as the Southeast Greenway Campaign in 2009, with the goal of preserving the Greenway as a park and increasing access to the outdoors for urban residents and kids. While the immediate neighborhoods have the highest concentration of schools in Santa Rosa, there are few neighborhood and community parks that serve the area. 

In partnership with the Sonoma Land Trust, the Southeast Greenway Campaign has worked diligently to acquire the property with the City, currently owned by the California Department of Transportation. The City of Santa Rosa and its partners have set aside $2,045,000 in previously secured grant funds and community fundraising to usher in the property and pay the necessary transfer costs. 

Senator McGuire stepped in and negotiated for the release of the Southeast Greenway parcels with state partners, resulting in three state departments signing off on the plan last week and ensuring the city secured the 47 acres.

Now Santa Rosa residents will finally see their vision for Southeast Greenway become a reality.

“It’s exciting to be at this point with the Southeast Greenway project, as all the hard work over the past eight years is finally coming to fruition. I also want to extend my deep gratitude to our partners, Sonoma Water, Sonoma Land Trust, LandPaths, Sonoma County Regional Parks, Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, and especially the Southeast Greenway Campaign Team have been essential in keeping this project moving,” said Santa Rosa Mayor Natalie Rogers. “Also, to Senator McGuire for helping the City work with various state agencies to make this project a reality. We couldn’t have done this without you.”

“For over a decade, neighbors have had a vision for the future of the Southeast Greenway and never gave up. Their relentless pursuit will preserve this land for generations to enjoy. We are so grateful to Senator McGuire and our state agency partners for moving mountains to deliver for our community,” said Santa Rosa Councilmember Chris Rogers.

“The Southeast Greenway is one of the top issues for my neighbors and our community. Getting this deal done with the state will finally allow the City to move forward on this transformational vision. I’m excited to work with the Council, local volunteers who have supported the project for many years, and Senator McGuire to see this through,” said Santa Rosa City Councilmember Mark Stapp.