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Santa Rosa's Veterans Memorial Building
photo credit: County of Sonoma
Part club house, community center and shelter of last resort, Sonoma County's veterans halls are in sorry shape.
The vast majority of halls were built immediately after the second world war and are showing their age.
An issue that has caught the attention of the County.
Supervisor David Rabbitt said they have long been neglected.
"I mean the problem, and it's not just here in Sonoma County, it's across the state, that all the vets buildings were built in the same era, all the systems are at an age that need replacement. There was never the mechanism for really the ongoing O&M (operations and maintenance) and the deferred maintenance that has occurred."
Though supervisors quipped that responsibility for upkeep has been shunted from one department to another, it was agreed that deficiencies should be addressed.
Supervisor James Gore agreed that disrepair is an issue across California and floated the concept of a larger effort, such as a statewide bond issue.
"All of those buildings have different maintenance issues, this is not just a problem for Sonoma County but I assume statewide."
The board went on to discuss potentially dedicating funds to building repairs the next time a parks and open space bond issue is sought.
The county operates veterans halls in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Guerneville, Petaluma, Cloverdale and Cotati. The one in Sebastopol is operated by the Sebastopol Center for the Arts.
With fewer living veterans though, several halls have been partly repurposed. One in Guerneville is functioning as a shelter for the homeless and sheriff's sub-station while others are used by schools or occasionally as evacuation shelters.
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