Saranap Village Plans Updated:
2017 Completion Date Targeted
APRIL 24—Revised plans for Saranap Village submitted to the county by the developer in February include a substantial reduction in the number of residential units since the project was unveiled last April and the addition of 18,000 square feet of “nonresidential” space since October. Three-quarters of the new space would be devoted to a “boutique” fitness center with an outdoor lap pool that wasn’t part of the original plan.
The developer, Hall Equities Group (HEG) of Walnut Creek, hopes to break ground on the project around the end of the first quarter of 2015 and complete construction during the third quarter of 2017.
A New Home for the Boutique
White Pony Express Takes the Boutique Under Its Wing
MARCH 5--The SCA launched the Toy & Clothing Boutique in December 2008 as a way to help Saranap and Meher Schools families struggling to make ends meet during the “Great Recession.” Over the next five years, we gave away thousands of clothing items, books, toys, and games to hundreds of families at 16 Boutiques.
As the recession receded and the need for assistance in our area lessened, we extended the reach of the Boutique to families in other, less-affluent parts of Contra Costa County where the need is still great. We distributed flyers to churches, homeless shelters, and other entities that serve low-income families, inviting those they serve to attend.
Through 2012, attendance at the Boutiques averaged between 50 and 100. At the May 2013 event, the first one held after we began broadening our outreach, 25 families from outside the area whom we hadn’t seen before attended. In October, as our outreach efforts grew and word-of-mouth spread, the guest list swelled to 500. Then, in December, nearly 1,000 people attended our Holiday Boutique, with some families traveling from as far away as Richmond and Brentwood.
“While we were pleased to be able to help so many people who were genuinely in need,” Stephanie says, “it became obvious that the SCA had neither the funds nor the volunteers to continue the Boutique in its expanded form, where it would do the most good.”
Learning of this, Dr. Carol Weyland Conner, who had originated the concept of the Boutique five years earlier, offered to take the Boutique under the wing of the White Pony Express. The White Pony Express picks up excess food from supermarkets, bakeries, farmers markets, restaurants, and other donors and delivers it at no cost to programs throughout the county that feed the poor. “In other words,” says Stephanie, “they work with many of the same organizations we had begun contacting and serve the same population we were attempting to reach.”
At its January 2014 meeting, the SCA board of directors voted unanimously to accept Dr. Conner’s offer.
Photo of Las Trampas Creek © 2013 by Patrick Mage