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Graton Town Square

Revitalizing the Last Undeveloped Lot in Downtown Graton

The Graton Community Services District (GCSD) has acquired the last undeveloped lot in downtown Graton, located at 9155 Graton Road! The community-driven Town Square initiative will transform this vacant lot (formerly a gas station) into a vibrant gathering space that reflects the unique character of Graton.

Please visit our Live Fundraising Campaign here!



Graton is a small, beloved village of ~1800 residents nestled in the heart of West Sonoma County's Green Valley. Despite a vibrant local community and many visitors, we have lacked a central gathering place since the town was developed over 100 years ago. Our new Town Square will serve the entire community as a focal point for multi-generational activities, cultural events, and local commerce/markets. The West County trail runs along one side of the site, so the Square will also help strengthen the Green Valley corridor of recreation and community connectedness from Sebastopol to Forestville.

The Town Square is being created for/by our little village, and initial work towards the vision has already catalyzed amazing new energy in the community. Our goal is to complete development and be fully open to the public by late 2025 or early 2026.

Progress To-Date

Funds Raised: $283,600 from Sonoma County public grants (Community Infrastructure and Tourism Impact Mitigation Funds).
Property Acquisition: On February 1, 2024, the GCSD completed down payment, closed escrow on the site, and secured 5-year seller-financing. 
Pre-Development: Initial site surveys, design concept, and phased development plan have been completed.

Community Co-Creation

In less than six months, we have engaged about 10% of our little village of Graton in the input/visioning/design process-- and we’re just getting started! With volunteer workdays and site activation events (like Graton Day!) scheduled for Summer/Fall 2024, we are excited to continue building community while we build this vibrant shared space.

Collage depicting community engagement: survey responses, meetings, design professionals, and volunteers involved in local development.
Photo Credits: John F. Martin and Matt Jorgense

Design Priorities

Through our surveys, town halls and Community Advisory Group meetings, we've heard our community's priorities loud and clear.  We want space for music, markets, and day-to-day gathering. We want space to connect across age and social group. We want places to learn, teach, dance, and dream as a village. 

The space we are designing will therefore include multiple “rooms” of various shapes/sizes for different activities, ensuring safe and supportive environments for all ages and demographics. The design will incorporate elements of Graton’s culture, ecology, and history while demonstrating principles of regenerative design and permaculture. The Square will complement the nearby Graton Green by focusing on more mixed-use community activities and engagement.

The Town Square will anchor a community hub that strengthens connections between everyone in Graton, from workers and residents to businesses and visitors. Our community events, markets, and programs that support local jobs, celebrate creatives and cultural traditions, and give people of all ages and backgrounds a place to connect. Our hope is to quickly activate the site with Phase 1 Development to begin generating self-sustaining revenue for ongoing operations. 

Design Concept

The following Design Concept was co-created by Graton’s volunteer Design Committee, in close collaboration with the Graton Community Services District (site owner), Community Advisory Group and many iterations of public input. And we’re not done! This Concept is our general direction/inspiration, but many design decisions are yet to be made. We always value additional community input and support as we work to bring this vibrant shared space to fruition. This will (literally) take a village!

An architectural plan for a community space with gardens, market area, play zone, and other amenities. (Note: "DRAFT CONCEPT SUBJECT TO CHANGE")

Development Phases

Our goal is to complete development and be fully open to the public by late 2025 or early 2026.  

To accomplish this, our goal is to raise a total of $1.5m+ over the ~2 years. However, we've phased our budget needs so that we can get started with activating the site for community use immediately:

  • Phase 1 Pre-Development & Activation ($144k): Beginning in Q3 ‘24, we are making progressive site improvements so that we can start hosting music, food, and community events on-site as soon as possible 
  • Land Acquisition ($860k): We secured 5-years of seller financing until we need to pay off the principal (after the 20% down payment we made). Our hope is to pay for the majority of the land acquisition with additional public grant funds. 
  • Phase 2+ Site Development ($500k+): Depending of timing of funds, we will continue to phase our development process to continue making the Square more vibrant and complete with each season! 
An infographic timeline of a community project's stages, from acquisition to full public opening, with activities planned for 2024-2026.


Budget & Fundraising Goals

Over the next two years we’re raising $1.5m+ to pay-off the land acquisition and complete site development in 2025/2026.

We are currently focused on Phase 1 Pre-Development and Activation ($144k). This is a 12-month interim budget, until we receive larger institutional grant funding, which will allow us to immediately begin progressive site improvements and start hosting music, food, and community events. Estimated costs for this first phase include: 

  • Creation of "Pocket Park" in upper portion of Square (site safety, landscaping, ADA access, fence, temp. stage) - $7k
  • Phase 1 Basic infrastructure improvement (water & electric hookups, trash and recycling, picnic tables, lighting) - $25k
  • Initial weekly and monthly Activation events (volunteer workday BBQs, music, coffee cart, farmer's market) - $12k
  • Reboot Graton Day (Oct. 12, 2024) - $10k
  • Phase 1 pre-development maintenance & financing costs for 12 months ($4k/month) - $48k
  • Grant-writing & fundraising, professional consultants, & event/project management for 12 months - $42k

We are leaning heavily on our grassroots community for this Activation phase, and then hope for major public and institutional grant funding to complete the land acquisition and future Development Phases. We are confident in part thanks to the ongoing support of Sonoma County, and particularly Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, who has been crucial in advancing this vision. See below for projected phases of our multi-year capital campaign.

Participation Levels

As a community-led initiative, we truly value the many forms of love, labor, and contribution that are making the Square happen. For those who are able to contribute financially, we are grateful to honor your role in revitalizing our community: 

  • Village Visionary ($50k+): Sponsor and name/commemorate an entire section of the Square (e.g. Terraced Lawn & Stage, the Dining/Market Area, Kid's Ecology & Play Area, Food Forest & Herb Garden)
  • Founding Donor ($25k+): Sponsor and name/commemorate a large feature of the space (e.g. Water Feature)
  • Legacy Builder ($10k+): Sponsor and name/commemorate a smaller feature of the space (e.g. a Garden Bed)
  • Community Catalyst ($5k+): Sponsor and name/commemorate a bench or picnic table area
  • Grateful Graton-ite ($1k+): All donors of $1,000+ (including all of the above) will have their names engraved onto our "Grateful to be in Graton" donor appreciation wall. 

Any amount helps us build momentum, so please share and don't be shy about contributing whatever feels good for you!  

To donate via check or wire transfer, or for information on corporate sponsorship packages, including the ability to advertise at Graton Day and other special events hosted at the Town Square, please reach out to Project Coordinator Matt Jorgensen

Please visit our Live Fundraising Campaign to donate or join the Town Square input/updates email list.   

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