Rich History and Deep Roots in the Community
Members of the Mill Valley Community Church began plans for a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation to create a retirement center that would serve moderate and low income seniors who lived in the area and wanted to stay in the community. Their vision was to provide high quality housing and services, offering a continuum of care ranging from fully independent living to greater levels of assistance. All styles would be available on a rental basis and new residents could enter any of the offerings directly.
A 10-acre lot with direct views of the bay was purchased, and construction began in 1971. The first residents moved in on December 3, 1972. The second phase, with 150 more apartments, the auditorium and arts and crafts rooms, was completed in 1974 with grant money and The Redwoods received Housing and Urban Development Section 8 Project Based Voucher to subsidize the rent for up to 60 low-income residents.
A "New Horizons" campaign provided capital for renovations to enhance the library, kitchen, dining room, volunteer store and new community room for expanded activities. Residential Living Apartments were created for Assisted Living, and a Licensed Skilled Nursing Health Care Center was also created.
The Mill Valley Community Church-based Board of Directors transitioned into a community Board. The Robert Sinclair Scott Organic Garden was created. The original loan was refinanced in 1990 and a second time in 1997. Also, the wait list started to grow and many new residents needed to wait several years to join the community.
In the early 2000s the residents formed the group, “Seniors for Peace,” and have conducted protests on the corner of Miller Avenue and Camino Alto every Friday since that time. Also, the leadership recognized that an extensive renovation would be beneficial. In 2006 a task force was formed that led to a two-phase Master Plan to guide future campus development.
Construction on Phase I began in December 2014 and was completed in the summer of 2017, coinciding with the 45th Anniversary of The Redwoods. The work included updating many of the independent living suites, common core areas, a complete update of the kitchen, auditorium, library and lobby, as well as outdoor areas like the patio and parking. It also included the major addition of the Wellness Center that features an exercise equipment room, large studio, therapy pool and hot tub, as well as rehabilitation therapy space. In addition, The Grove, the first and only in-patient hospice care facility in Marin, was envisioned and completed in 2019 by converting one wing of the skilled nursing center. A serenity garden was created, as well as expanded patios for each suite and connected walkways to renovated outdoor patios.
Thanks in large part to grants and generous donor support, the revitalization of the remainder of the nursing suites, common areas and gardens is now in process. Revitalization of Headlands (Independent Living) apartments that were not part of the earlier project also began in 2020 and is expected to be completed in early 2022, The Redwoods’ 50th anniversary year. Also, work was started on the Creekside (Assisted Living) apartment hallways, which will complete the second Phase of the revitalization and set The Redwoods in good stead for many years to come.