Ag+ Open Space is preparing to launch the 2022 Matching Grants Program to provide up to $4 million in funding to public agencies and nonprofits for the protection of vibrant open spaces within communities across County. Sonoma for local agriculture, recreation and natural resource restoration. The application period for this competitive funding round is April 21 to July 1, 2022. Interested applicants are encouraged to join Ag+ Open Space for a virtual informational workshop on April 21, 2022 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
“Ag+ Open Space’s mission, which was created by local voters, should benefit everyone who calls Sonoma County home. The Matching Grants Program is a creative and collaborative way to help local agencies and community organizations create the parks, trails and gathering spaces that best support the health and happiness of our residents,” said James Gore, chairman of the Sonoma County Board of Directors. Supervisors and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ag + Open Space. “These community projects are just one of the ways we are working to make access to natural and open spaces more accessible and equitable.”
This unique program takes place every two years and to date has committed nearly $40 million to diverse and innovative projects across our county. Often these matching grant projects transform communities, providing places to find solitude, hold public gatherings, exercise, grow local foods, and experience and learn about the importance of natural resources and agriculture. .
Notable past projects
City of Windsor Green – In partnership with the City of Windsor, the Matching Grants program supported the protection and enhancement of Windsor Town Green, which is a central gathering place where residents and visitors enjoy picnics, concerts, outdoor movies and plays, a farmers market and Suite.
Meadowlark Field – The Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation and the City of Santa Rosa used matching grant funds for the restoration of riparian and upland areas at Meadowlark Field in the center of the Laguna de Santa Rosa – one of the watersheds reviews of our county, wildlife habitats and a popular destination for county residents and tourists.
Steamboat Landing Park – The Town of Petaluma, with funding from the Matching Grants Program, purchased 10 acres of the McNear Peninsula to create a park along the Petaluma River. The project created new public access and included habitat restoration. Today, the park hosts community events and offers environmental education through Friends of the Petaluma River.
Colgan Creek Restoration – The City of Santa Rosa received a matching grant to restore a 1.3-mile section of Colgan Creek in southwest Santa Rosa. When complete, the restoration project will include a new neighborhood park and a walking and cycling path along the creek.
Sonoma Garden Park – Sonoma Garden Park is a 6-acre garden-based public park owned by the City of Sonoma and managed by the Sonoma Ecology Center. As with every matching grant project, we protected the park with a conservation easement and also supported the development of a barn, greenhouses, gardens and trails on the property. The park directly connects visitors to farming, composting, and gardening practices through community events, field trips, workshops, and more.
In 2020, Ag+ Open Space pledged $5.8 million for six countywide projects that will add 145 acres of new and improved parklands, trail additions, and several new access points to existing local parks. These include a new 36-acre park in Healdsburg, a 20-acre park on currently fallow open space adjacent to Steamer Landing Park, and a major 75-acre extension to Crane Creek Regional Park. The funds will also be used to install Santa Rosa’s first all-weather sports fields at A Place to Play, expand Keizer Park in Windsor by two acres and build a vital trail connection to Bodega Bay.
“The Matching Grants program creates new open spaces or enhances existing ones to provide opportunities to experience nature and the outdoors where people live,” said Jen Kuszmar, Ag Open Spaces Acquisition Manager. +. “Located in cities and communities, these projects help maintain community character, preserve and celebrate cultures, and support physical and mental health. We also know that land conservation is integral to resilience and adaptability to climate change, and these projects bring this work to the heart of our communities.
For more information on the Matching Grants program and this year’s application round, please visit: www.SonomaOpenSpace.org/MGP.