Have you wondered how to get better access to the Russian River, what the future of arts is in our community, or when Badger Park will get bathrooms? This summer, the city of Healdsburg will launch two planning processes to move forward several Healdsburg City Council goals that address river access, connectivity, arts and culture and park planning.

Mark Themig

Mark Themig

One planning process will focus on several park- and recreation-related projects. One component of this process will develop a master plan for the new 36-acre public park in the Montage Healdsburg development. Another will create a plan for future improvements at Badger Park, such as adding restrooms, replacing the play structure and other enhancements. A third component closely tied to Badger Park will look at how to create and enhance access to the Russian River. The final component will identify ways to improve walking and biking between parks and other destinations through physical improvements, way finding, bike lanes, mapping and technology.

The arts and culture master planning process will compile information on the current state of the arts and culture in Healdsburg and develop a long-term plan for fostering, enhancing and advancing the arts. The process will study cities in other parts of California and the country that have developed a strong arts and culture identity, look at the socio-economic impact of the arts, define the city’s role in arts and culture and help formulate a recommendation for collaboration among arts and culture organizations and businesses. The results will feed directly into future planning and development projects that will shape the future of the arts and culture landscape in Healdsburg for years to come. 

The Healdsburg City Council recently selected the landscape architecture and urban design firm Fletcher Studio to lead the parks, river access and connectivity planning, and the consulting firm Cultural Planning to lead the arts and culture master planning process. Fletcher Studio brings decades of experience on park design, community engagement, river planning and open-space master planning, as well as local experience associated with Giorgi Park design. Cultural Planning Group brings extensive experience in cultural planning through projects such as a creative arts action plan for the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, cultural plans for Marin County and Sacramento and a public-arts plan for West Sacramento. 

Wanted: community feedback

The two planning processes will involve significant community input. Each process will be led by a citizen-based community/stakeholder team that will help inform and shape the plans. The parks, river access and connectivity planning process will engage a citizen design team that will help identify needs, provide input and review concepts and proposals. The arts and culture planning process will have a creative leadership team that will serve a similar role. In addition, both planning processes will entail community meetings, special events and other activities this summer and into the fall that will give residents opportunities to help shape the plans.

Information on how to volunteer for the citizen design team and the creative leadership team is available on the city’s website at ci.healdsburg.ca.us/860/Volunteer-Program, by email at volunteer@cityofhealdsburg.org, or by phone 707-431-3492.

Mark Themig is the Healdsburg community services director. To submit ideas or questions for this column, email cityscape@ci.healdsburg.ca.us.

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