ROHNERT PARK ? Eight years ago, businessman Ed Stolman contacted San Francisco philanthropist Bernard Osher. Then in his mid-70s, Mr. Stolman was concerned about the lack of continuing education for seniors in Sonoma County, where he had relocated from San Francisco.
Having previously studied with the Fromm Institute through the University of San Francisco, which focuses on educating seniors, Mr. Stolman wanted to have something similar at Sonoma State University.
Mr. Osher agreed to fund part of the program, and since then it has grown in size and scope, now serving more than 1,200 students per year.
Now, Mr. Stolman and Codding Enterprises are working together to create a learning community around the concept.
Sonoma Mountain Village is a community being developed by Codding Enterprises on more than 200 acres in Rohnert Park and will be the first in North America, and the fourth in the world, to be endorsed by One Planet Communities, which enables the entire community to live within a sensitive ecological footprint. The $1 billion sustainable, mixed-use community calls for 1,900 homes.
Mr. Stolman is creating a pilot program under the lifelong living concept to develop a community within Sonoma Mountain Village. It will be not-for-profit, and he said it will most likely be opened in 2012.
In developing the program, Mr. Stolman said he has ?traveled all over the country researching other places.?
Mr. Stolman said there could be 200 residential units available in the project. ?It will be a healthy elderly village where we will combine exercise and learning, and hopefully that will extend people?s lives.?
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers educational programs customized for people ?50 and better.?
A satellite program at Oakmont has been serving that community for the past two years, and other satellite programs are being considered for the future, including one in Sonoma, according to Mr. Stolman.