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Roseland demolition, toxic removal up for approval

Work on a long-stagnant redevelopment project in Santa Rosa's Roseland neighborhood could begin later this year under a contract up for approval Tuesday.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is set to sign off on a $1.2 million deal covering demolition and environmental cleanup on a portion of the former Albertsons shopping center off Sebastopol Road.

A shuttered bowling alley behind the abandoned grocery store is to be torn down, and the contaminated soil under it and a leveled former dry cleaner would be excavated and hauled away.

The work is the first step in a proposal to transform the largely vacant commercial complex into a mixed-use center with affordable housing, retail shops and a plaza.

The project has been frozen for several years, tied up in funding and legal disputes stemming from the state-ordered end of redevelopment agencies last year.

County officials and community advocates have been eager to revive the effort.

“From my perspective it's huge,” John Haig, capital programs manager for county's Community Development Commission, said of the remediation work. “It's critically important to get started.”

The cleanup would be focused on a portion of the seven acres the county owns at the western end of the complex. The eastern end of the overall 11-acre site, owned by John Paulsen of Santa Rosa, has a number of occupied retail outlets and office space.

The North Coast Water Quality Control Board has a standing order that soil contaminated with dry cleaning solvents and other pollutants be removed from the county-owned property.

Clean fill will be brought in and the site graded to await future stages of the project, Haig said.

The proposed county contract is with Santa Rosa-based Harris and Lee Environmental Sciences. The firm is set to bid the bowling alley demolition.

With redevelopment cash tied up in a court fight, money for the work is coming from some of the redistributed property tax funds the county received from the end of redevelopment agencies countywide.

You can reach Staff Writer Brett Wilkison at 521-5295 or brett.wilkison@pressdemocrat.com.

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