LOBBY OF MEMORIES Residents gather in the lobby of the former Raven Film Center on Feb. 7, 2024, for an outreach meeting with two principals from Vertice Hospitality, chef Kyle Connaughton and developer Tony Greenberg.

Re: Vertice

At the Feb. 7 Vertice (SingleThread) meeting in Healdsburg which I attended, Vertice owners asked for community input on potential uses for the recently acquired Raven Film Center and 150 North Street properties.

My suggestions for the sites are as follows: Middle-income-priced restaurants along the lines of Bravas, Willys, Baci, etc. that reflect quality and innovation. Use of one of the “stage” theaters for movies and/or entertainment and community events. I suggest reaching out to the Raven Theater for joint participation. These actions would reassure residents of Vertice’s inclusivity and community support.

Vertice’s consideration of a luxury 5-room hotel at 150 North Street is a disappointment. The downtown already has too many hotels, and this is hotel over-concentration on one block. I suggest middle-income residential housing, rather than the potential for also having ultra-luxury condos that may mimic the multimillion-dollar condos at the Mill District. The General Plan emphasizes a mix of housing types and affordability. It also emphasizes “protecting neighborhood character.”

The General Plan emphasizes development maintaining “a balance between resident and visitor needs.” But there is serious concern that Vertice could possibly develop a replica hospitality venue that is similar to SingleThread with dinners that cost over $1,000 per couple. I would not like to see these “exclusive” economic uses of these two properties that only very wealthy tourists and the 2% class can afford.

If Vertice claims to be a part of the community (per website and pronouncements), I hope they will share common ground with residents’ concerns and as it relates to elements of the General Plan and Guiding Principles. Vertice has reached out, and I look forward to both their responses and more community meetings this spring.

Bruce Abramson
Creekside Court, Healdsburg

SMART Station

I enjoy reading the articles, letters and columns in the Healdsburg Tribune (I call it the “Spittoon”). The paper is improving. Christian Kallen continues to do an excellent job of writing and reporting. Much enjoyed.

The SMART train station future location debate is humorous to watch. People worry about parking, while 49 parking spaces are taken up by “parklets” leased to businesses by the city council. A train going through the roundabout at street level is madness.

The railroad bridge is many years away from being train-worthy and yet Healdsburg awaits the SMART train like a dog in heat.

It’s embarrassing.

Tim McGraw
Fitch Street, Healdsburg 

New Direction?

It’s time the old Healdsburg families and longtime residents united to help shape the “new” direction that Healdsburg is going (both within city limits and the greater Healdsburg region). I’ve been here for almost 50 years, and am a third-generation Healdsburger (although outside city limits, so with fewer direct action options).

The biggest miff I have with the way things have gone in the last 15-20 years is that the decision-makers are wringing out the very essence of Healdsburg to line their vanity coffers, and in the process have demolished the innocent and unassuming charm that made Healdsburg resonate with visitors. We should not be trying to be the next Napa. We should be keeping our small town agricultural roots, warts and all, since that was what made Healdsburg different from the rest of the Wine Country, and therefore so attractive: it was real. But alas, I suppose I’m writing this much too late.

As a decidedly left-wing resident who lived through the ’70s here, I’ve always had mixed feelings about the mutations that have gone on in Healdsburg. On the one hand, I was derided and threatened on the street by hicks in lifted 4x4s for riding a skateboard while having long hair in the ’80s, and connected with the Latino population since we were similarly on the receiving end of derision by arguably right-wing factions during the same era. Now however, I want those lifted hick trucks back. We are a country ag town, not Rodeo Drive North! I can’t even afford to buy socks in my own town (except for one place—thank you, EveryWear.Co!).

There is much more that can be said on this subject, and brevity has never been my strong suit, so I think I’ll just leave it at that. For now.

Justin Wilson
Dry Creek

Readers are welcome to send letters to [email protected].

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