At a Feb. 12 special meeting, the City Council unanimously approved creating a Community Center Advisory Committee, which will include two council members.
A previous committee created about three years ago and chaired by current mayor Elizabeth Lewis was recently disbanded, as was an advisory committee that studied options for building a new library. Now that voters rejected a plan to build a library in Holbrook-Palmer Park, the new committee will incorporate a library into the Town Center rebuilding plans.
The new committee will be staff-led, according to Mayor Lewis. Staff members helping to guide the process will include the town manager, the police chief, the community services director, the town engineer, and a member of the library staff.
At the outset, the committee will help town staff develop a master plan for the new center. It also will devise a strategy to gather opinions and ideas of fellow residents to determine what the new center will offer, and at the conclusion of the process, make recommendations to the council.
In addition to rejecting the plan to build a library in the park, voters last November also endorsed the construction of a new Town Center, using primarily private donations.
The town has long struggled with increasing challenges in housing its administrative services. The police department operates in a small section of the main administration building with inadequate space; the building and planning offices are in ramshackle portable buildings; and the historic building that houses the library is cramped and in need of seismic upgrading. All the buildings are old and in need of repair.
Mayor Lewis said one of the first tasks ahead for the town is to hire a consultant to help with creating a master plan for the Town Center area that extends to the train depot.
Although the bulk of funding for the project is to come from private donations, there is money already set aside to fund the consultant and other early expenses, Mayor Lewis said. That includes money in the restricted library fund, about $1.8 million in building department reserves, and contributions to the nonprofit Atherton Police Foundation, she said.
The town is seeking applicants for the committee, and those interested in serving may call City Clerk Theresa DellaSanta at 752-0529. Or go to www.ci.atherton.ca.us and download an application under the "Council Committees and Commissions" section of the homepage.