Roseland's Bayer Park plan scaled back due to funding shortfall

Plans for an agricultural-themed park in southwest Santa Rosa are being scaled back because City Hall doesn't have the money to construct several of the buildings once planned for the 6-acre property.

The city has $6.5 million available for the Bayer Neighborhood Park and Garden on West Avenue in Roseland, most of it from state grant funds.

But it will take about twice that much to build everything included in the community's original plan for the park.

The revised layout, approved last week by the Board of Community Services, eliminates nearly all of the new structures planned for the property and still calls for demolishing of the original Bayer family farmhouse and preserving a large barn.

A total of six structures have been stripped from the plan approved by the City Council in 2011, including a community hall, caretaker's residence, two greenhouses, a garden pavilion and an office building for LandPaths, the non-profit that has spent years building community gardens on the property.

Assistant City Manager Jennifer Phillips told the Board of Community Services said the city doesn't have the funds to build the park's "enhanced features," but doesn't want it to be held up any longer.

"We feel this park is so important and needs to move forward," Phillips told the board, which unanimously recommended the changes to the City Council.

The city has long known it would need additional funds to build all the features residents identified during more than a dozen bilingual public hearings held to help design the park.

The hitch came when city officials proposed using some of its $4.8 million in state grant funding to construct two of the park's more expensive features, the office building and caretakers residence, said Jennifer Tuell, a program coordinator in the Recreation and Parks Department.

"They said, 'We don't fund office buildings,'?" Tuell said of the response from state officials managing the Proposition 84 grant, which is aimed at urban greening.

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