Sage becomes census-designated place

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Bill Donahue and the Sage Town Hall Association have been working to get Sage declared as a census designated place to differentiate it from Hemet. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo

The Sage Town Hall Association board announced Friday, Aug. 7, that Sage has been declared an official census designated place by the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to the STHA Facebook page, “We just received notification that, as of this morning, after years of hard work and the help of our supervisor’s office and Riverside County mapping, we are officially a census designated place.”

A census designated place is a concentration of population defined by the U.S. Census Bureau for statistical purposes only. The boundaries of a census designated place have no legal status and may not always correspond with the local understanding of the area or community with the same name.

Anza, Aguanga, Mountain Center, Idyllwild and Lake Riverside Estates are census designated places; however, until now, the Census Bureau did not keep data on Sage as a community.

“This means that we are now federally recognized by the U.S. Census Bureau as a distinct and separate community within the county,” Bill Donahue of the STHA said. “This gives Sage the same recognition and status as other local CDPs such as Winchester, Anza and Idyllwild. This is one of the final pieces of the puzzle that we needed to move forward in our battle with the U.S. Postal Service in our quest to obtain a new ZIP code, thereby defaulting our last line of address to Sage instead of Hemet. This is a big win for STHA and the entire community.”

Becoming a census designated place means that the Census Bureau will now start compiling data on the people living within Sage as a unique community, such as median income, education levels, ethnic mix, median home price and more.

The designation may aid in the STHA’s efforts to get the U.S. Postal Service to issue Sage a unique ZIP code. It may also encourage other agencies to log statistics – such as crime statistics – for Sage separately, instead of combining numbers from Hemet.

“It is not uncommon for the boundaries of a CDP to differ from the borders of a community. Sage is not becoming a city. We were, are and will remain part of unincorporated Riverside County. Our local government is the board of supervisors,” according to STHA’s Facebook announcement.

While the designation might help the efforts toward obtaining a distinct ZIP code, nothing in this action forces the Postal Service to issue a ZIP code. School districts and voting choices remain the same, even with the issuance of a new ZIP code.

Sage covers a large area of about 111 square miles and includes many neighborhoods, such as Diamond Valley, Cahuilla Heights, Sycamore Springs and more. Those neighborhood names are unaffected by the new designation.

Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington and his staff have been instrumental in assisting the STHA with this endeavor.

The Sage Town Hall Association is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to preserve historical landmarks, combat community deterioration and unify residents.

For more information about the Sage Town Hall Association, visit them on Facebook or at www.sagetownhallassociation.com. Contact STHA at sagetownhall@gmail.com or 951-288-0903.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at dsieker@reedermedia.com.