SANTA ROSA, Calif. - A community park in a Santa Rosa neighborhood that was decimated by the Tubbs Fire in 2017 reopened to the public after undergoing three years of reconstruction.
“It feels wonderful. It also feels emotional when me and the kids came here I just teared up,” said Lori Perez.
The City of Santa Rosa officially took the wraps off Coffey Neighborhood Park on Wednesday morning, three years after the more than 30-year-old site was reduced to ashes is one of the state's worst wildfires.
Among those who brought children to play on the newly refurbished park equipment was Jim Biegel, who brought his grandchildren to the same park where he brought his children in their younger years.
“Just seeing it all come back was such a great feeling. It just made you feel kind of back at home again,” Biegel said.
Reconstruction of the park costs $3.3 million and was made possible with the help of groups such as Kaiser Permanente, Rotary, the City’s Public Art Fund, Measure M-Parks for All, and many individuals, businesses, and groups.
Spearheading the project was a non-profit called Coffey Strong, formed by members of the neighborhood who lost their homes in the wildfire.
"Well, first you have to get past the tears. But, you know, my it's just the first thing I had to do is have my son show up with a Frisbee so he can play on the grass. I mean, it's just pure joy," said Steve Rahmn, President of Coffey Strong. “There were some very pinnacle things the first time someone moved it back home and a coffee park was huge. You know, finishing our home was huge. Now, this park is completed, it's (really) full circle.”
Among the features of the 5-acre site are two playgrounds, fitness stations, picnic areas, barbeques, a garden, and dog park.
Officials say despite multiple delays during current construction, including impacts from additional wildfires, the rebuilding was still completed in an expedited time frame.