The old Albertsons shopping center on Sebastopol Road in southwest Santa Rosa is slated for demolition in August in what community development officials are calling a first step in the long-awaited dream of building a town center and plaza at the site.
The schedule and timeline for demolition plans, which also include tearing down the old bowling alley just behind the shopping center, will be discussed at a 6 p.m. meeting Wednesday at the Pentecostal Church, 651 Sebastopol Road.
The meeting is the first in a series of public forums that will be held to discuss the planned Roseland Village neighborhood center, a mixed-use development plan that took shape after several years of community meetings and debate.
One of the main objectives of Wednesday’s meeting is to reassure Roseland residents that even though demolition crews will soon begin work, the building plans for the site have yet to be finalized.
“This is an exciting first step but no plans have been made other than demolition and remediation,” said Kathleen Kane, executive director of the county’s Community Development Commission.
In 2007, county supervisors adopted the Sebastopol Road Urban Vision plan, which calls for pedestrian-friendly commercial development, affordable housing and a public gathering place, such as a plaza.
The county Community Development Commission acquired the property in 2011, after six years of planning, with the goal of implementing the project. But the effort hit a snag after the state did away with redevelopment agencies in 2012 to help close a multi-billion dollar budget gap.
Local redevelopment funds that were designated for the project were the subject of litigation between the county and the state.
Kane said the state Department of Finance relented and approved use of the disputed funds for the soil remediation and related demolition, since the former local redevelopment agency was under orders from the state regional water quality control board to do that work.
The rest of the redevelopment money, totaling about $5.5 million, is still under litigation with the state, Kane said. However, county supervisors have committed general fund dollars to move the project forward pending resolution of that litigation, she said.
The demolition of the buildings is expected to cost $460,000, while remediation of the soil is pegged at just over $160,000.
Kane said the work is only the first step in fulfilling a larger vision, and that previous designs and plans for the Roseland Village center will be used as guides for the final plan, which will require more public input.
“We really want to involve people again in designing this,” Kane said.
You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at (707) 521-5213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.