Park planned for apartment project south of Coddingtown mall

The developer of a proposed apartment complex south of Coddingtown mall is planning to spend $1.1 million to build a 2.7-acre city park adjacent to the project.

The Wolff Co. of Scottsdale, Ariz. has approval to build 270 apartments in a 15-building development called Range Ranch.

It is the largest apartment project proposed in Santa Rosa in years and a sign of the strength of the rental housing market. Construction is anticipated to begin this summer.

One of the city's requirements was that the developer build a park at the western edge of the 11-acre property, an island of pastureland at the intersection of Jennings and Range avenues.

The area south of the mall between Highway 101 and the rail line has long been identified as lacking enough parks for the growing number of residents in the area.

A master plan for the yet-unnamed park has been completed with input from neighbors. The plan heads to the City Council on Tuesday.

Major features will include a dog run, community garden, fitness trail, playgrounds, barbecue area and large open grass area.

Many residents who submitted suggestions to Carlile-Macy, the firm designing the park, expressed a desire for a public space that was attractive, peaceful and low-maintenance. Some suggested no bathrooms be included to discourage homeless people from congregating.

Others expressed interest in helping manage the community gardens, which are considered an asset particularly around areas of higher density housing, said Curt Nichols, a landscape architect and vice-president of Carlile-Macy.

"That's not something that's traditionally been in neighborhood parks, but I think it makes a lot of sense," Nichols said. "Giving people space to grow some vegetables and interact with their neighbors is a good thing."

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