The Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District will spend $3.6 million in grant money for five park projects within or near urban communities in the county.

The district solicits project applications every two years and finances them through its matching grant program.

This cycle’s $3,618,943 funding will provide open space, park additions, trail connections and new public access points near homes and neighborhoods.

Money for previous projects went to the Windsor Town Green, Sebastopol Skategarden Park and the Bayer Farm Neighborhood Park and Garden in Santa Rosa.

“The goal of the district’s Matching Grant Program is to create vibrant and inviting spaces in or near communities where individuals and families can come together, be active and take in the natural world,” district General Manager Bill Keene said.

Petaluma residents will see a $1 million extension of Helen Putnam Regional Park that will offer a second access point and trailhead off D Street outside downtown.

Petaluma residents also will see a $750,000 extension of Steamer Landing Park on McNear Peninsula. The city plans to acquire most of the remainder of the peninsula for passive recreation, wildlife viewing and education.

In Santa Rosa, $742,000 will go toward the purchase of a 54-acre Cooper Creek addition to Taylor Mountain Regional Park & Open Space Preserve. The acquisition may provide a future access point.

The $126,943 AmeriCorps Trail project in Sebastopol means new trails and access points to connect with the existing AmeriCorps Trail. The trail links the Barlow area and the Laguna de Santa Rosa Trail.

The $1 million Badger Park River Access project in Healdsburg will result in the city’s first authorized Russian River access point. None of the other access points to the river are owned or operated by Healdsburg.

In the Sebastopol and Healdsburg projects, the grant money also will go toward trail and recreational development.

Story originally published by Bay City News.