Park in Peril

Neighbors Defend Shollenberger Park from Dutra’s Asphalt Factory

Petaluma’s Shollenberger Park is nestled within the largest intact high-elevation salt marsh in North America. It serves as a home for the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse and is an integral stop for migrating birds along the Pacific flyway.

But for over 150,000 human visitors of all ages and abilities annually, the park’s two-mile flat walking path also provides a safe and accessible environment. On any given day, one might find parents and kids out for a stroll, young athletes, leashed dogs, children learning to ride bicycles, and seniors, all enjoying the beauty of the park for recreation and education.

But what isn’t there is just as important. Across the river towards the west, there isn’t an asphalt factory tower, and there isn’t the smell of hot asphalt. That’s because for 15 years, the Petaluma community, led by Friends of Shollenberger and Petaluma River Council, has fought the County approval of Dutra’s proposed asphalt factory across the river from the park.

But Dutra’s latest tactic to build their asphalt factory involves redrawing project boundaries to exclude the wetlands and evade one of the County’s Conditions of Approval (COA) requiring a Wetlands Permit. Sonoma County’s planning director rejected Dutra’s request, prompting Dutra to pressure the County to overturn this decision.

So far, a hearing has not been scheduled and the community group Friends of Shollenberger (FOS) maintains that Dutra’s extensive proposed changes would require reopening the EIR process for public review and a vote by the Supervisors. FOS is a community group formed 16 years ago with the mission of safeguarding Shollenberger Park against the proposed construction. The Petaluma Wetlands Alliance, led by new President Mary Kadri, provides park stewardship and education, offering resources like an online field guide and nature walk and hands-on education for Petaluma’s third graders, both in the classroom and in the field.

After 16 years of constant vigilance, FOS now aims to acquire Dutra’s 39 acres and incorporate them into the current open spaces and wetlands. The purchase would enhance the natural beauty of this key entry point to Sonoma County and stop the asphalt factory once and for all. Meanwhile, the park remains a much-cherished public space.
FB and IG: Save Shollenberger
Friends of Shollenberger
Petaluma Wetlands Alliance
To donate:
Click on Donate, and then click on FOS

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