Sonoma Valley Health and Recreation Association was founded in 2000 by a group of Valley residents who shared a dream of qualifying a local ballot measure to build a community swimming pool here in Sonoma. When their efforts fell short, the organization dispersed the funds they raised to various athletic projects in Sonoma Valley, including building a fifth tennis court at Maxwell Park and resurfacing the Schantz Track at Sonoma Valley High School.
In 2011, city council members Ken Brown and Tom Rouse brought together a small group of dedicated residents to develop a new plan to build a community aquatic facility in Sonoma Valley. This new group dubbed as Citizens United for a Sonoma Pool (CUSP) quickly realized that the best model for realizing this dream was to form a privately funded nonprofit organization.
In 2012, the SVHRA board and the CUSP board merged and formalized their effort to build a multi-use, community pool. The first action of the new board was to commission a survey to gauge Sonoma’s interest for such a facility. The results were overwhelmingly positive and spurred SVHRA to further action.
In 2013, the prestigious, United States Swimming Association (USSA) chose SVHRA for an in-house “Build-a-Pool” conference, providing an enterprise business plan to build and operate a modern aquatic facility. In September 2013, SVHRA launched Sonoma Splash, a collaborative effort to build a broad base of support for a local, Sonoma-based multi-use aquatic facility.
2014 continued that momentum going into contract on a perfect piece of property at 175 Verano Avenue in Sonoma. The community rallied behind the project to raise enough funds to close escrow on Halloween. Shortly thereafter, the search for an architect was underway, and by the end of the year, local architecture firm, RossDrulisCusenbery came on board as master architects, coupling with Aquatic Design Group as the aquatic designers for the project.
The organization has seen great progress towards their goal. With the development of the site master plan and programming model, a financially sustainable operating model was developed. Critical to the economic viability and success of the entire project is a housing partnership. With a great team of Board members, volunteers, partners, community supporters and donors, Sonoma Splash is strongly positioned to make this dream a reality in the very near future.