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Rohnert Park food bank has to move - again

Rohnert Park's only food bank, displaced two years ago after being overrun by rats, is again seeking new quarters.

Neighbors Organizing Against Hunger, or NOAH, will have to move from the former Mountain Shadows Middle School by June 30. The food bank has been housed there in two former classrooms since November 2010, paying about $300 a month for rent and custodial service.

Cotati-Rohnert School District officials said the move is necessary because they need to move students into the space NOAH is renting.

The incoming students are being transferred from Lawrence Jones Middle School into alternative education programs located at Mountain Shadows, said Anne Barron, the district chief business official

"Lawrence Jones is a fairly large campus, so some students really just aren't ready for that," Barron said. "They need a little more academic support, and this is a much smaller campus."

Mountain Shadows was closed as a middle school campus in 2010. The district has since moved its offices into it as well as alternative education and a preschool program.

The food bank's run of bad luck started in July 2010 when rats invaded the old Southwest Boulevard fire station, where it distributed about 14,000 pounds of food a month.

Shut down by health officials, NOAH ceased operations entirely for about six months before finding the space next door in the school campus.

On Friday, the group's vice-chairman, Carl Leivo, hunted for potential new locations, hoping the city's depressed real estate market — Rohnert Park has a 43 percent commercial vacancy rate — might ease the way.

"There's a lot of vacant spaces obviously, and so there's a lot of places to look at it," he said.


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