NSVMAC fetes Olympian, weighs in on the SDC
By Chris Rooney
The Feb. 16 meeting of the North Sonoma Valley Municipal Advisory Council (NSVMAC) videoconference kicked off with a quick recognition of an Olympian and then shifted gears into a lengthy discussion on how to best weigh in on the future of the former Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) and the folks who live in what is sometimes called Eldridge.
Recognizing Nikita Ducarroz
“We’re really proud you’re from Glen Ellen,” said NSVMAC Chair Arthur Dawson to Nikita Ducarroz, a freestyle BMX Olympic bronze medalist.
Born in France, Ducarroz grew up locally. At a young age, she began suffering from anxiety, but has since served as a spokesperson to generate alertness.
“I’m lucky to be from Glen Ellen,” Ducarroz said. “I wouldn’t have preferred growing up anywhere else.”
Sonoma County First District Supervisor Susan Gorin gave a brief update, suggesting that there are “hints that Eldridge [the neighborhood south of SDC as designated on some maps] will become Glen Ellen.” She added that she felt the change was “totally appropriate,” yet still advised residents to be “loud and outspoken” on the topic.
The group’s annual report, to be filed with the Board of Supervisors, was unveiled, detailing the NSVMAC’s successes during 2021.
“Three ad hoc committees were formed in January 2021, focused on: Outreach, Emergency Preparedness, and Transportation and Safety. A fourth ad hoc, focused on the SDC transition, was formed over the summer and became fully active a few months later…” the report stated. “The MAC hosted a number of presentations by various county agencies and local organizations.”
The report also highlighted successful community outreach: “Public participation ranged from about a dozen to at least 50 in December, with over 300 public attendees at the joint meeting on the SDC alternatives that took place in November  with the Springs MAC and the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission.”
SDC redevelopment discussion
The meeting shifted to discussing feedback regarding the SDC, and Gorin’s earlier counsel about activism was heard as a stream of videoconference participants chimed in with opinions as to how the NSVMAC could help shape the region’s future. The local panel will dispatch a letter to the Board of Supervisors comprised of ideas of how to proceed as the former institution finds a second life, and whether the unincorporated area called Eldridge should, in the future, be part of Glen Ellen.