RRSQ Association Board Meeting
Thursday, April 20, 2023
8:30 AM Courtyard Marriott Hotel Conference Room: 175 Railroad St. (in person meeting)
Attendees: Mike Montague, Dayna Irvine, Marianne Neufeld, Dee Richardson,Paul Quattrocchi,Kris Wilson,Pauline Block, Florine Ellingson,Noelle Hermann, Jim McCalligan,Curt Nichols,Rafael Rivero, Theresa Tommasi, Kris Wilson
Absent: Hardeep Gil
Guests: Michelle Gervais, Don Lusty (ZOOM), Lee Wright, Jill Moyer. Ann Gallantine, Ellen Bowen, Lee Ann Wentz from Saturday Club.
1. CALL TO ORDER, INTRODUCTIONS & APPROVAL OF FEBRUARY MINUTES: President Mike Montague called the meeting to order at 9:40am. A motion was made by Marianne Neufeld to approve the February minutes which was approved by Pauline Block.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS – (limited to 2 minutes each) None
3. CONSENT ITEMS – None
4. GUEST SPEAKER: Michelle Gervais & Don Lusty (ZOOM) gave an update on the John Stewart, Cannery project with the vision of providing affordable housing for nearby workers and employees. The project has been approved for a six-story building with 129 affordable apartments including 7 studio apartments, 48 1-bedroom apartments, and 74 2-bedroom apartments. The rent will be from $993.00 – $2660 per month, and there are 52 parking spaces. Applications will be accepted in the Fall of 2024 and tenants will be chosen according to a lottery. It will sit on 2 acres on a clean site and historic walls will remain. The 4th Street corridor was always part of the plan and will remain. The water tower will be resurrected and restored; placement to be determined in phase 2, hopefully in its original location. The project cost is $95 million, and completion is set for February 10, 2025. Kris will send site plan to the board.
5. PRESIDENT’S REPORT – Mike Montague: Railroad Square continues to improve the look and feel of the district. A few board members toured the 1st phase of Pullman Lofts, which is complete and being leased. Phoenix Development has the approval to move forward on the former Copperfield’s Books property across the street.
5.1 The first Townhall meeting with SRPD Chief Cregan and City managers was a great success with good attendance and discussion. We plan to continue hosting these updates from our City leaders. Discussion to host an In-Response meeting for our merchants to increase awareness of this important mental health support team.
5.2 There was discussion regarding the proposed plan to maintain a community kitchen where St. Vincent DePaul is currently operating. The city and RRSQ are opposed due to the impact the current services are having on the district. The property is for sale with efforts to identify a retail store to purchase. There may be policies to protect over-concentration of services in one area. The kitchen is operating under a temporary permit and is causing a negative impact on the neighborhood and businesses. Mike will be setting a meeting with the police and the property owner. An ad hoc group will be formed to continue to discuss.
5.2 Advisory Committees/Project priorities: A RRSQ Board Association half year retreat will be held on Thursday, July 20th to assess progress of 2023 goals and priorities. Location to be determined.
6. ED REPORT – Kris Wilson:
6.1 Kris will be asking for sponsors to help support our summer and holiday events. Umpqua Bank has already committed to sponsoring the Carriage Rides.
6.2 Marketing/Social Media Update: New restaurant guides and emergency contact cards will be delivered to all businesses in RRSQ. Dee and Lee Wright are working on a new brochure which will include QR codes to link to the website. Monthly meetings with TIV branding are ongoing as we enhance the website with Google ads and wider search engines. Mike and Kris will keep the board updated on results. Kris has reached out to SMART for continued RRSQ ads on the San Rafael or other southern platforms.
6.3 The new and long-awaited Depot Park sign has been completed. Installation date is pending.
7. FINANCIAL REPORT – Marianne Neufeld. Everything looks good. We refunded 2 departing merchants for Wayfinding signs, which were replaced with 2 new merchants. We will be receiving funds for next tax billing cycle from the city. Only 1 property owner remains with uncollected assessment fees.
8. PROJECT UPDATES/DISCUSSION
8.1 Wayfinding Pedestrian Signage – Noelle Hermann: Required documents have been submitted to the city and the installation date is pending per Signarama’s schedule. The hope is to install the signs before summer. The City has issued a temporary signage permit as the signage ordinance is being revised. Directional signage to downtown, parking, and the Visitor’s Center to be discussed.
8.2 The lighting project across 4th Street has been stalled as we work on getting examples of other cities who have done it successfully. City staff, Gabe Osborn is supportive of our efforts to move this forward. The lighting in Depot Park needs addressing as a few trees are not lit and the Palm tree light needs improvement.
8.3 Parking: Paul will be coordinating a meeting with the City parking staff to discuss ways to improve parking especially in the lots under the freeway. Pauline will keep us apprised of parking discussions in the downtown district and include RRSQ in future meetings to discuss parking in both districts.
8.4 Art Project – Paul and Dee. There is $2500.00 in grant money from the City available for beatification projects in Santa Rosa. There are 20 electrical boxes of different sizes throughout Railroad Square that are very unsightly. Identify those most obvious and maybe put murals on them with our logo and little known facts. Perhaps talk to Tara at the city. Rafael offered to assist in getting a map of the district.
8.5 New restaurants coming to RRSQ: The new Goose & Fern restaurant will be replacing Toad in the Hole. 1910 is soon to be open where Jack and Tony’s was. The name represents the year the building was built. Marla Bakery (formerly Miracle Plum) is planning to open in May.
8.6 The Visitors Center remodel is near completion and will be hosting an open house in June. There are plans underway for activities and events in the Center.
8.7 Representatives from the Saturday Afternoon Club informed the board of interest re: water tower.
10. Adjournment – the meeting was adjourned at 10:13 AM.