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Sonoma County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Smart Voter

On Revitalization of Petaluma's Downtown Area and Washington Corridor

By Cindy Thomas

Candidate for Member, City Council; City of Petaluma

This information is provided by the candidate
I agree with the city's retail leakage study recommendation that new retail should be located downtown and along the Washington corridor. The city should commit to focusing on smart mixed-use development of the Kenilworth site which could be the home for the kinds of retail business and affordable housing that members of the community are asking for.

The recent Petaluma Retail Leakage Study recommends retail development in the Corona Reach floodplain, north of the Payran flood control project, as the last place retail development should occur in our city. I support the study's recommendation of retail development in the downtown and Washington corridor areas. I feel that the floodplain, north of the Payran flood control project, should become a city park to include walking and biking trails and ball fields. Covering the wetlands area with concrete and asphalt negatively impacts the area's ability to naturally soak up and retain surplus water during the rainy season and could very possibly result in flooding in the downstream area. The floodplain is one of the few natural beauty areas we have left in Petaluma and is filled with riparian oak forests that provide for both land and waterborne habitat. It should be preserved as open space or as a recreational park. Petaluma can do better than an outlet mall expansion. New retail must be located downtown and along the Washington corridor. If we listen to the study and follow the top recommendations, we can have both retail development and an open space park.

To enhance and revitalize the downtown area, we need easier access to the area, perhaps a downtown trolley service. A trolley ride downtown from the outer areas could get people there to spend local dollars and would provide downtown parking relief. Trolley stations with parking areas, bike racks and bus service connections could be located on the outskirts of the downtown area.

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