The first home stands rebuilt in Coffey Park, and a few hundred more are either under construction or soon to get started there.
The long-awaited rebuild has begun in the northwest Santa Rosa neighborhood. The pace may still be slower than many hoped for, but construction has increased markedly from April.
As of Monday, builders had started to construct 125 homes in the neighborhood, compared to about 50 a month earlier, according to the city’s Resilient Permit Center. The activity amounts to more than 80 percent of the homes that currently are being rebuilt in all the Santa Rosa neighborhoods that were scorched by the October wildfires.
Overall, Coffey Park homeowners since the fire had applied to rebuild 276 of the nearly 1,260 homes burned there. By Monday the city had issued 197 of those requested permits.
Meanwhile, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. reports it has received 370 applications for new service from customers with a Coffey Park address.
Also as part of the rebuild, PG&E in May continued to replace underground utilities in the neighborhood. Since the beginning of April, it has completed about 14,000 feet of new trenches, which hold electric, natural gas and other utilities.
PG&E is on track to dig nearly 23 miles of trenches for such utilities in the burned neighborhoods around Santa Rosa, including Mark West and Hidden Valley. The work in Coffey Park is slated to be wrapped up by the end of the year.
Here is a recap of other Coffey Park news for the past month:
Putting back the first home
Last week city and neighborhood leaders celebrated the completion of Coffey Park’s first rebuild, a three-bedroom, two-bath home on a cul-de-sac west of the neighborhood park.
The rebuilt, single-story house on Kerry Lane features the same exterior shape and was built on the same foundation as the original home of more than 30 years. The contractor, Lake County Contractors of Cobb, started replacing the structure shortly before the New Year.
It was the first rebuild project to receive a building permit in the city and the first to be brought to completion.
Dan Bradford, the homeowner, expressed gratitude for those who rebuilt his house and for the neighbors who cheered him on during construction.
“I’ve made some really strong friendships out of this,” Bradford said.
The last lot cleared
May marked another milestone: the completion of hauling away ash and fire rubble from the single-family home sites of Coffey Park.
A lot on Waring Court was the last one in the neighborhood to have an excavator scoop up bricks, broken metal and other bits of debris from the Tubb’s fire in October. It was one of three lots cleared in early May by a private contractor.
“It’s time for the next chapter,” said Michael Wolff, CEO of Wolff Contracting in Santa Rosa, who oversaw the work. “It feels like now we’re really into the building phase.”
While the cleanup of small residential lots ended, one final project of debris removal remained at the nearby Hopper Lane Apartments. A city official said the Hopper Avenue complex would be the last of the burned apartment and commercial sites in the city to undergo such a cleaning.
For many, the ash and rubble were more than eyesores. They were painful reminders of the trauma and loss suffered in the neighborhood. For them, the cleanup provided relief.
This story is part of a monthly series in 2018 chronicling the rebuilding efforts in Sonoma County’s four fire zones: Coffey Park, Fountaingrove, the greater Mark West area and Sonoma Valley. Read all of the Rebuild North Bay coverage here.