Dulce Preciado remembers the day she was assaulted inside Roseland Community Library. It was a Tuesday, under one of the first rains of the winter season in the predominantly Latino neighborhood incorporated to Santa Rosa in November 2017, just after the catastrophic wildfires north of the city.
That evening, Preciado, 26, a Santa Rosa resident at the time, was in charge of the library. Outside, just behind the building that houses the library and community center, in the Sebastopol Road and West Ave intersection, Santa Rosa police had evicted a camp of homeless people trying to find shelter from the first heavy rains at the end of November.
“We did not know that the police had done this, nobody told us,” recalled Preciado. “A woman who seemed homeless accessed the library and became violent. She threatened me and threw things at me. There were children in there. I had to handle her alone. I called the police as soon as I got her out.”
Preciado left her position in the library shortly after the incident. She blamed the institutions that have “ignored Roseland” of the aggression, and that have marginalized the neighborhood for years, since it was an unincorporated territory of Sonoma County, until now, after its annexation to Santa Rosa.
“The community in Roseland has been historically marginalized, and it is visible in the library system. The Sonoma County Library received thousands of dollars from Measure Y, through which they purchased a 3D printer for Healdsburg, while here (in Roseland) we have leaks because the roof is falling due to the rains,” Preciado said.
After her statements, the administration promised to install a security guard at the front door of the library, at least on days with high transit of users, she claimed.
The process of annexing Roseland to Santa Rosa was a long odyssey. An initiative that former District 5 Supervisor, Efrén Carrillo, took almost as a personal battle. There were several promises of development and infrastructure, by county and city, but no one expected that a few weeks before the official incorporation, one of the most exclusive neighborhoods, Fountaingrove, burned to the ground in the northeast part of the city, along with Coffey Park, on the northwest.
“Any time a community experiences a catastrophic event as we did (in October 2017) with the wildfires, as a community we are required to respond to the immediate crisis before us,” Carrillo said. “It is important, however, that the pledges made to the Roseland community are continued to be met.”
Some of the agreements between county and city: Sonoma County would provide $790,000 in start-up costs, as well as a continuous commitment in investments — $ 662,000 per year, for a period of 10 years. The county also agreed to a subsidy of $550,000, on top of the tax disbursement on an annual basis.
Jack Tibbetts, councilmember of Santa Rosa, said that part of those funds were allocated from police and fire departments, as well as planning and investment in parks, community services and housing.
“Santa Rosa’s Park Departments made one of its largest parks investment in Bayer Farm during last year’s budget, and Housing and Community Services invested $4 million into the Roseland Village Neighborhood Center’s affordable housing project that’s being carried out by MidPen Housing,” Tibbetts said.
Current District 5 Supervisor — which concerns the Roseland neighborhood — Lynda Hopkins said Roseland’s development is a pressing issue: “We are working hard to move the Roseland Village project forward, and it’s moving! The developers are working with the City on permitting, and additional County funding is imminent. Redeveloping that space will make a big difference in Roseland — bringing affordable housing and a beautiful public gathering place right into Roseland’s core.”
At some point in 2019, builders should break ground for the development of the Roseland Village housing complex, which means the installation of a Plaza Temporal, and the demolition of the actual Roseland library and community center.
Hopkins said she managed to secure $500,000 from the county’s budget for a new temporary lease for the center, “while the library and community center work to create a permanent home,” she said.
But it will be the responsibility of Library Commissioners and the Boys and Girls Club “to find a space that will work for them, and for the community, as an interim location,” Hopkins said.
Unfortunately, Tibbets said, these funds will only be enough for about three years. “We (the City) need to work with the County and begin socking away funds to construct the Library’s new, permanent home,” he added.
This year, along with the construction of Roseland Village, the city and the county are supposed to work together to open a Plaza Temporal, a community attraction point for civic and holiday events. In addition to continue the efforts to install public lighting and develop urban infrastructure in areas of the newly incorporated neighborhood.
“2019 will prove to be a banner year for Roseland,” Carrillo said. “Its business district is thriving, key housing developments are taking place, its parks are loved by residents, and with the upcoming 2020 district election, Roseland will soon have the strongest voice it’s ever had on the City Council,” he said.
Preciado, the young woman assaulted in the library, said that although she no longer works for the library and community center, they finally provided a security guard at the front door, at least on Wednesday and Saturday evenings, which are the busiest days.
Noticias y eventos desde la región vinícola del norte de California para la comunidad latina.
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