Recovery

Sonoma County Fire Recovery and Resiliency Workshops Planned

Comments and ideas shared during small group discussion at the meetings could help shape public policy.

by Mary Callahan, The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif. / July 9, 2018

(TNS) - Sonoma County supervisors are looking for public input on efforts to facilitate the county’s recovery from the catastrophic October wildfires and help build a stronger, more resilient community for the future.

The county will host upcoming workshops in all five supervisorial districts, beginning Tuesday night in Santa Rosa and continuing through Aug. 8, in the town of Sonoma.

Comments and ideas shared during small group discussion at the meetings could help shape public policy. They also could provide guidance to nonprofits and other agencies working for the public benefit, in the wake of the fires that killed 22 people, destroyed 5,300 homes and fractured neighborhoods around the county, officials said.

“Sonoma County will recover from these devastating fires, but we cannot do it alone,” Supervisor James Gore, the board chairman, said in a statement. “We invite community members from every corner of the county to come to the table and share your ideas about what actions will help lead to a successful recovery and resilient future.”

Topics include those outlined in the recovery and resiliency draft plan presented to the supervisors last month by the 7-month-old county Office of Recovery and Resilience.

Key strategy areas include:

• Improving community preparedness and infrastructure — from community disaster response training and adoption of a comprehensive emergency alert system to improved vegetation management and infrastructure repair during times of disaster.

• Rebuilding neighborhoods lost in the 2017 firestorm and developing new climate-smart, affordable housing through innovation, regional cooperation and pursuit of new financing mechanisms.

• Supporting the county’s economy and local businesses through a recovery marketing campaign, workforce housing and career pathways development, and improved access to economic recovery loans and other assistance.

• Restoring and preserving natural resources, such as streams, groundwater basins and agricultural lands, as well as reducing forest fuel loads and flood risk.

• Safety net services, such as crisis counseling.

County officials plan to collect public comment from the meetings and make it available as a resource for stakeholders involved in the recovery planning.

Spanish translation, child care and counselors will be available at each of the five meetings. Light refreshments also will be served.

Those attending should RSVP at recoveryinfo@sonoma-county.org.

You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or mary.callahan@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.

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©2018 The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.)

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