(1 of ) A Kava-Komucha Bar/Lounge: "There are so many alcohol-related bars but not much for the non-drinker/health conscience people," wrote Carlee from Sporgy.
(2 of ) An IMAX: A couple different people wanted one of these theaters in town. Lifelong Sonoma County resident Tony said he's always wanted one of these. "I've been saying this for years....the three things Sonoma County needs: 1. An IMAX theater, 2. Nordstrom Department Store, 3. An actual sit down shoe shine station (like they have at major airports)," he wrote. (Shutterstock)
(3 of ) More restaurants that are open late: Another common answer. Haley from Santa Rosa mentioned this one, and Scott on Facebook said "a couple coffee shops that were open all night," or a "place to go sit and hang with friends after the night life closes down," would be ideal. (Shutterstock)
(4 of ) Korean BBQ: This was one of the most-mentioned restaurant types that is lacking in Sonoma County. "I wish Sonoma County had some great Korean barbecue restaurants, with the grills in the tables," wrote Windsor resident Elizabeth.
(5 of ) More public pools: "My 2 children swim with the Neptunes," wrote Ryan, who lives in Rincon Valley. "The pools at the JC and at Ridgeway are always packed, and I understand that there is a 2 year wait list to join the team. Sonoma County is lacking in pools given the swim teams of all the high schools." (Shutterstock)
(6 of ) A water park: Another common wish from readers. "If Sonoma County had a super sized waterslide/water sports park, it would be nice for people of all ages to enjoy themselves," wrote Samantha from Santa Rosa. (Shutterstock)
(7 of ) An aquarium: The closest thing appears to be the UC Davis-Bodega Marine Laboratory, which is open to the public every Friday for a couple hours. "My husband and I took the kids (4 and 2) to Monterey Bay Aquarium recently," wrote Katherine of Santa Rosa. "As beautiful as it is, possibly having one right in our backyard (somewhere within Sonoma County) would be a really cool addition." (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)
(8 of ) Affordable housing: A lot of people quipped (well, not really) that the county is missing affordable housing. It's pretty hard to enjoy what the county has to offer if you can't afford to live here. Also, related, many people wished for living wages to be able to — you know — live here. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat, 2018)
(9 of ) Better services for the homeless: Many people mentioned this as well, and it's one of the most important issues in the county right now. Danny, a Sebastopol resident who was formerly homeless when we was young, says he thinks there aren't enough resources for homeless people. "I know this because I’ve experienced it many times, and struggled to find substantial help," he wrote. "Sonoma County is missing a large enough drop in/temporary stay center for the homeless large enough to cater to the amount of homeless youth etc.. that struggle here. We need more than a few small establishments and packed shelters." Another reader from Santa Rosa, Lindsay, said she wished there could be tiny home villages for the at-risk/homeless population, possibly built on plots left vacant from 2017 fire. No matter the solutions, it's another issue heavily weighing on the community. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat, 2018)
(10 of ) Better roads: Another pretty basic but big wish people commonly had — and a good baseline for getting some of the nicer things later on this list. Many people wanted to wish the prevalent potholes away, and some readers just don't feel safe. Jeff wrote that he wants "streets that are pedestrian and bike friendly. I’m sure that my dog and I will be killed by a truck while enjoying Vine Hill Road," he wrote. (This image is of Rural Spring Hill Road near Petaluma, however). (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat, 2018)
(11 of ) More outdoor fun for children with disabilities: In this 2017 photo, Miracle League North Bay volunteers work on a project to turn a part of east Petaluma’s Lucchesi Park into a new playground designed to accommodate children with disabilities. Stevie from Santa Rosa wrote to commend that park, but emphasize the need for others. "Santa Rosa has one swing in a park for children in wheelchairs," Stevie wrote. "Lets cater to these children in a more positive manner."
(12 of ) More nice dog parks: Among other things, Jeff from Santa Rosa wants to see more places for pups to play. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat, 2018)
(13 of ) Mental health care: Danielle from Facebook wished we had "better mental health care" in the county. (Shutterstock)
(14 of ) More high-end stores: " I wish there were more high end stores like Kendra Scott, Kate Spade, and Ted Baker," said Elizabeth, from Windsor. (Shutterstock)
(15 of ) More music venues: A few different people mentioned wanting more music venue options, in addition to the few here in the region. "Ever since The Last Day Saloon closed and the Fox radio shut down, Sonoma County hasn't had a significant music scene," wrote Ashley from Santa Rosa. "The closest venues are in Napa and Petaluma, but those eliminate so many larger bands in Sonoma County. If you want to see your favorite band on their West Coast tour, those are only found in San Francisco or Oakland. SOMO in RP is good... but the concerts are far and few between, since it is an outdoor venue."
(16 of ) An arcade bar: Beer and games? It's a beautiful combination. "A large arcade bar, complete with cup holders at the games (maybe in the old 2 tread spot?) that goes 21+ after a certain hour/certain days," would be perfect, writes Arielle from Santa Rosa. Some readers also thought having a Dave & Buster's up here would be cool, too. (Shutterstock)
(17 of ) A more functional downtown: "I’d also like to see more coffee options (Philz anyone?) and for Santa Rosa to get rid of the mall and have a functional downtown that attracts people," writes Patrick from Santa Rosa. "Think State St. in Santa Barbara, big brands and local stores all together. I know, I know, never going to happen." (Shutterstock)
(18 of ) Getting rid of paid parking downtown: A few mentioned wanting this as a way to revamp downtown Santa Rosa again. "I know that paid parking is effective in larger cities that have limited parking and better public transit, but Santa Rosa is not that type of city yet," wrote Robert, who lives in the city. "I know a lot of people who do not patronize downtown since they'd rather not pay for parking, and this helps keep downtown from reaching its true potential. I've also heard the argument that free parking would be taken up by employees, resulting in customers having to walk farther. That doesn't appear to be the case in cities without paid parking, such as Petaluma, Healdsburg and Sonoma, however. I don't believe downtown Santa Rosa will ever become the vibrant destination it can be as long as parking isn't free." (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat, 2018)
(19 of ) An indoor shooting range: This was mentioned by a few different people. "I would like to see a Winco grocery store and an indoor shooting range," wrote David from Santa Rosa.
(20 of ) Winco: David isn't the only reader who mentioned wanting a Winco grocery store here. (Shutterstock)
(21 of ) A "true convention center": Lindsay from Santa Rosa said one possible location could be "one of abandoned buildings near the Railroad Square Train Station," with a similar style to that of Copia in Napa, which she said has a great, mutlipurpose indoor/outdoor space. She wrote that it would lead to numerous economic benefits, from an increase in jobs to tourism dollars. "OR revamp the Fairgrounds to include newer buildings, better parking and transportation options," she wrote. (Shutterstock)
(22 of ) More free activities: "I wish there were more free activities put on by the city of Santa Rosa, like outdoor concerts, movie nights, antique fairs, etc.," writes Kelsey from Santa Rosa. "I wish there were more music venues, comedy nights, and open mic nights offered on the weekends at the local bars. Sonoma County has a lot to offer for families, but not so much for twenty-somethings who have no children. The entertainment in Sonoma County is geared towards families. I wish there were more activities geared towards twenty-somethings that wouldn't require a $20 ticket." In this photo, dragon dancers from the Redwood Empire Chinese Association perform during Santa Rosa's 150th birthday at Old Courthouse Square. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat, 2018)
(23 of ) A drive-in: Several readers went a bit old school, wanting to revive the drive-in theater tradition. " I am a firm believer that if drive-in movie theaters were here in Sonoma County, they would be great for fun nights out," wrote Samantha from Santa Rosa. (Shutterstock)
(24 of ) Half Price Books: "I love our used bookstores, don't get me wrong, but I'd like more options," wrote Kevin on Facebook.
(25 of ) A new museum: "A science museum like the Exploratorium for older kids" would be perfect, Elizabeth wrote on Facebook.
(26 of ) A large, all-purpose sports complex: "A sports complex for all weather soccer, basketball, baseball, family picnics, etc. like Fallon Park in Dublin," wrote Tina from Santa Rosa. "Keep kids involved in sports and have somewhere safe to play." (City of Dublin)
(27 of ) A minor league baseball team: "Most of all, I wish we had a minor league baseball team (A, AA or AAA) that played in a sweet little stadium with a nice view of the mountains," wrote Chris from Santa Rosa. (Shutterstock)