Craig S. Harrison, VOICE Editor
Thanks to a public outcry and the formation of the 4,000-strong grassroots advocacy group Save Bennett Valley Golf Course, the prospect of redevelopment of some of the golf course property into housing is remote. The Santa Rosa city council seems responsive to the public it serves, and is trying to improve the golf course and park, and resurrect the restaurant and event center.
Representatives of Save Bennett Valley Golf Course met with a committee of three Santa Rosa city council members and stressed three issues:
The need for a comprehensive financial plan that ensures the enterprise is self-funding;
Prompt selection of a new operator with a long-term contract; and
An urgent need, especially given the drought, to improve the golf course, ensure a long-term water supply, and reduce water consumption by improving irrigation and drainage.
The committee thanked the community representatives for their insights and hard work, and council member Alvarez emailed "It was nice to see government invite our leaders to discuss issues that affect us all. Here’s to a better way of governing."
City staff has prepared a draft scope of work for the golf course, which Save Bennett Valley Golf Course has analyzed and provided comments. The committee has invited Save Bennett Valley Golf Course to participate in selecting a public representative to serve on the selection committee for the new operator.
A request for proposal to assess the golf course and solicit interest in operating it is expected to be approved by the Santa Rosa city council in mid-August. The committee has invited Save Bennett Valley Golf Course to participate in selecting a member of the golfing public to serve on the selection committee for the new operator. Also under discussion is the possibility of a "pop-up" restaurant to operate for about 6 months until a new operator is selected and can commence operations.
Bennett Valley residents who are concerned about this issue or want to follow the progress of decision making should contact Save Bennett Valley Golf Course.