Age-Friendly Sonoma County is committed to ensuring that Sonoma County is a great place to grow up and to grow old. We are here to help our cities become more “Age-Friendly” fostering health, well-being, inclusion and
participation – across the lifespan.
An Age-Friendly Community benefits the whole community.
To support this process, we are meeting with city leaders to inform them about the Age-Friendly Sonoma County initiative, learn about areas of existing natural alignment and provide Age-Friendly resources that we believe will be helpful to their on-going planning and services.
Below are some current highlights of this city’s process…
Our First Meeting – Rohnert Park City Leaders and Age Friendly Sonoma County:
Thursday, July 21st, 2016
We had a wonderful first meeting with Mayor Gina Bel Forte and Assistant City Manager Don Schwartz and look forward to further conversations in the coming months.
How is the city incorporating an Age-Friendly perspective in city planning and strategic goal considerations?
In our conversation and exploration of Rohnert Park’s Strategic Plan 2016-2018, we have identified areas where the City is already aligned with “Age-Friendly” principles. This includes strategies to: improve transportation and infrastructure, implement the Central Rohnert Park Priority Development Area, support the building of additional housing (including affordable units), and maintain public facilities, programs and services to meet the changing needs of the community and more.
The City of Rohnert Park requires all new development to comply with Federal and State requirements, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. This helps support all visitors and residents who have challenges with their mobility. Like other cities, Rohnert Park is addressing complex and interrelated needs and opportunities of an aging population in its planning and development.
Rohnert Park’s Existing Age-Friendly Alignment
Strategic Goals for City Planning and Development:
Age-Friendly Sonoma County has identified a number of Rohnert Park’s current strategic goals, strategies and best practices that are naturally aligned with an “Age-Friendly” lens. To further support this process we provided existing Age-Friendly resources that could be helpful, particularly as the Central Rohnert Park Downtown Development moves forward in the coming months and years.
Some “best practices” highlights from Rohnert Park’s Strategic Plan 2016-2018 include:
Goal A – Practice participative leadership at all levels.
Increase communication between city leaders, management and staff with local citizens through Town Hall Meetings, on-going participation at a wide variety of community events and meetings, updated website information and technology and wider distribution of Community Services Newsletter.
Engage community volunteers in a variety of programs including the Senior Center, the Animal Shelter, Public Safety Aides and much more.
Make short-term decisions with a long-term perspective
Build relationships with other organizations to address community needs…
Goal D – Continue to develop a vibrant community.
Support implementation of major planned developments.
Update and maintain City design standards related to public and private improvements.
Implement and monitor the roads and Complete Streets Program.
Consider health effects of development decisions – ensure new developments include access to parks, open space, and/or pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
Support and organize community events.
Current Age-Friendly Community Assets:
Additional Rohnert Park Resources:
Rohnert Park City Website – Check out the NEW Rohnert Park Website! Very well done!
We’d also like to acknowledge Graton Resort and Casino for donating an eight-passenger van for the Rohnert Park Senior Transportation Program (May 2015).
Becoming Even More “Age-Friendly”
According to the 2016-2020 Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging Area Plan, adults 60 years and older comprise 15% of Rohnert Park’s total population and the city has been proactive in seeking new ways to meet the needs of its senior residents. In addition to Rohnert Park’s existing programs and services, this also includes seeking to bring additional county-funded social service, health and transportation programs into the city as the city believes it is significantly underserved compared to other Sonoma County communities. Like elsewhere in the county, state and world, the number of older adults is projected to increase in Rohnert Park over the coming years and decades and clearly city leaders are thoughtfully addressing ways to meet the opportunities and challenges.
With the on-going development of the Rohnert Park Downtown Area, there are numerous opportunities available. This is true regardless of whether Rohnert Park and the other Sonoma County cities decide to pursue the formal path of becoming a World Health Organization “Age-Friendly Community.”
Age-Friendly Sonoma County is here to provide resources and support to city leaders and a growing number of Age-Friendly community advocate volunteers. We are here to help ensure that Sonoma County is a great place to grow up and to grow old, promoting well-being across the lifespan.
Age-Friendly Sonoma County Volunteers – Rohnert Park:
County Steering Committee Member – Rohnert Park Representative:
These volunteers will provide leadership for the countywide Age-Friendly initiative including guiding principles for the first two years of the WHO/AARP program process.
Rohnert Park Age-Friendly City Task Force Members:
These volunteers will guide the Age-Friendly process for their city. They will include city residents and other individuals who live in the surrounding unincorporated area that identifies with this particular city.
Age-Friendly Community Advocates:
These volunteers will provide Age-Friendly advocacy through shorter term, more focused and one-time activities that support the work of the County Steering Committee, the City Task Forces and other related Age-Friendly events.
To learn more about Age-Friendly Volunteering, click here. We look forward to hearing from you!