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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Monday, August 1, 2011

Meanwhile in Graton...

Graton’s Pivotal Moment                 
There are times in the life of a community when an opportunity arises that won’t come again.  In July, the Graton Fire Protection District (GFPD) moved to its new headquarters, leaving behind .41 acres in downtown Graton, a town without a community gathering space, a place for children to play - a free public space. 
What if Graton had a park?  Envision Graton Day in the park; envision classes/movies/music/theater/dancing in the park, meeting your friends at the park, children playing in the park, youth jamming in the park, planting a garden in the park, enjoying art in the park, bicycling to the park, walking to the park - Graton Park.

After the GFPD complies with state law and offers the land to local entities for development into low-income housing or a park, the district may open up the land for public bid.  Sonoma County has made it very clear that they are not interested in making the site a county park.  Graton already has a higher percentage of low income housing than anywhere in the county.  So, it is certain that the old firehouse property WILL be put up for public bid.  Already, a private business has offered to buy the property for office space for $405,000. 

By law, the GFPD may lease or sell the property to the community for less than market value.  In recognition of the significant benefit a park will provide, the GFPD Board may choose to lease or sell the property to the community for something less than what is being offered currently. 

It’s up to the community to decide what the old firehouse site will become - an office building with a parking lot or a community park - by making a vigorous and sincere effort to raise funds to purchase the site.

The Graton Green Group (GGG) has created the framework for the community to create a Graton park.  The GGG incorporated as a nonprofit charity in 2010 and has held many meetings with county officials, local engineers and architects and local organizations to determine the feasibility of turning the old firehouse site into a park. 

(The GGG researched other possible sites for a downtown Graton Park. The property behind Underwoods Restaurant is costly and does not have any improvements such as a sewer hookup.  The property adjacent to that site and the west of Underwoods is not for sale and will be undergoing decontamination from leaking gasoline tanks for years to come.)

Robyn Bramhall, GGG Board of Director speaks for many park supporters when she says, “If you want Graton to have a park, now is the time to act.  We should think about making pledges and donations now as an investment in our future - the many opportunities and enrichments that having a local park will bring to our lives.”

Please call Aaron Smith, GGG Board of Director in charge of fund raising at 478-1502 to pledge or donate a tax-deductible gift to yourself and your family to create a park for your future.

And, Get a Massage!
Tuesday, August 9, Community Acupuncture, Massage and Chiropractic will donate profits from a "services by donation" day to the Graton Green Group to create Graton Park.  Two massage therapists and an acupuncturist will participate by providing services at the Graton Community Club, corner Graton Road and Edison Street.  Suggested donations are $20 - $40 for acupuncture or a 1/2 hour massage; $50 - $60 for a 1 hour massage.  Appointments are recommended. Please call 823-2866.  

Graton Labor Center Survives!
So far.  The community responded to a plea for help and donated funds to allow Centro Laboral of Graton to purchase one of the mortgages formerly held by Orrin Thiessen for their location on Bowen Street.  With the advent of the Thiessen bankruptcy declaration, the Center is still at risk, but a successful outcome that will allow them to remain at their location in Graton is still possible.  As one of the most successful labor centers in the country, Centro Laboral has created a safe and self-empowering place for day laborers, adding to the welfare of the entire Graton community.  

Graton Day 2011! 
Graton Day is coming Sept 24th!  To be held on Bowen Street between Graton Road and Donald Street, the annual event will once again bring our community together to celebrate our uniquely Graton esprit de corps.