Springs Eternal - Gina Cuclis


Springs bike path, and a new business group

Since the early 1990s residents of the Springs have been advocating an off-highway bike path from Maxwell Farms Regional Park to Flowery School and Larson Park. According to the Sonoma County Regional Parks Department, the path will finally be completed in the summer of 2015. In other words, it’s taking the county 20 years to build roughly 2.75 miles of bike path.

Environmental and design work is currently underway. The proposed improvements include a paved path and a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over Pequeno Creek. On Verano Avenue, the path will be paved and separated from vehicle traffic.

The path’s initial segment, which runs from DeChene Avenue through Larson Park, was completed in May 2011. Those Improvement included striping on the street and a paved path through the park.

Most of the funding is coming from Sonoma County’s Measure M sales tax and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Even though it’s taking a generation to get our Springs bike path, this is a story of successful community advocacy. Back in the mid-1990s, members of the Sonoma Ecology Center, the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce, the former Sonoma Valley Trails Committee, and the Verano Springs Association — the community group that preceded the Springs Community Alliance — began working together to get the county to make constructing an off highway bike path through the Springs a priority. We conducted a letter-writing campaign, walked the proposed path area with then-Supervisor Mike Cale, and spoke at Sonoma County Bicycle Advisory Committee meetings.

I still have a copy of a brochure promoting the bike path concept that a group of us created sitting around the kitchen table at the late George Ellman’s house in Glen Ellen. The others in the group were Bruce Maxwell, John LemMon and my friend the late Christy Vreeland. We decided to call the proposed path the Central Sonoma Valley Trail. The county adopted that name in 1997 when it incorporated the trail into the County General Plan as part of the County Bikeways Plan Update.

In 2001 those same groups, plus others, helped the county obtain a grant from CalTrans to pay for the Central Sonoma Valley Bike Path study. The study sat completed for several years before the county moved the project to where it is today.

Springs business group meets

La Luz board member Kimberly Blattner and her husband Simon have donated $50,000 to La Luz for a micro lending program. The objective is to help businesses in the Springs who can’t access traditional sources of capital.

To get the word out about this program, and other resources available to Springs businesses, La Luz Executive Director Juan Hernandez has been facilitating meetings of Springs business people to organize a Springs community business group.

As active participant Teresita Fernandez of La Michoacana Ice Cream said at the group’s November meeting: “The purpose is to provide education, share knowledge, and get Latino business owners engaged in order to make a stronger business community in the Springs.”

The group’s next meeting is Wednesday, January 15, 8:30 a.m. in La Luz’s Booker Hall at 17560 Greger St. Anyone interested in strengthening the Spring’s business community is welcome to attend.

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