Posted by Save Our Park, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Oct 13, 2012 at 10:36 am
Differing opinion to some of McKeithen's other points:
MCK: "the fact that the public HAS been intimately involved in the planning process and alternative sites have been considered at length"
SOP: Last Fall a petition with 300 signatures was presented to the council asking the council to do a Master Plan of all Town Facilities before moving ahead with the Library in the Park. Widmer, McKeithen, and Dobbie declined that request.
MCK: "that the EIR found the traffic impacts to be the similar regardless of the final location"
SOP: What if Atherton just keeps the library where it is and the size does not increase from 4,800 sq ft to 13,000 sq. ft. ?
The EIR states the new library with its expanded size will add traffic requiring a traffic light at Middlefield and Watkins and a turn lane at El Camino and Watkins.
MCK: "that the library when completed WOULD OCCUPY LESS THAN 1% of the entire park and WOULD NOT interfere with ANY recreational activity"
SOP: For starters the library will remove the 6,500 square foot patio that hosts the Magician for the Easter Eagg Hunt. The Patio hosts numerous other social events and serves as a seating area for weddings. Maybe weddings and parties are not "recreational". Their is always a growing need for more fields. The land lost to the facility and parking will be gone many years.
MCK: "1% of the Park."
SOP: What percent of the remaining usable space in the park? Remove from the 23 acres the City Manager's home, the roads, parking, existing facilities and fields and the percent is much larger. The reality is if the Main House, Patio, and some land around the Main House were not being removed, then there would be no space in the remaining "99%" of the park to locate the library.
MCK: "that a library is being sized to serve the exact same base of users the library has ALWAYS served"
SOP: The current library is 4,800 square feet. The new library will be at least double in size and probably greater. There is no need to build that larger a library for Atherton with Menlo Park's library so close by. The Menlo Park library always has empty seats. This will likely be a White Elephant.
MCK: " that taken as a whole events in the Park DO NOT MAKE MONEY"
SOP: Wedding rentals generate at least $3,500.00 per rental. The purpose of a park is normally not to make money. Should the Dames/Foundation charge more for the Easter Egg Hunt?
MCK: " that the Town - not the library would continue to control the Park."
SOP: The library will be open to 7 or 8pm and the Park closes at sunset. Will people leave the library and go hang out in the Park? Thus the library will set new park hours.
MCK: "While it is absolutely true that the donor funds that would be used to build any new library would be those funds accumulated from a portion of taxpayer dollars set aside as a
consequence of cost savings generated from membership in the San Mateo County Library Joint Powers Association,
the thought is that no ADDITIONAL taxpayer funds beyond those generated by existing country property taxes would be required. The funds would even be able to assist in maintaining the Park, perhaps funding a much-needed traffic light at Watkins and Middlefield and other library-related improvements"
SOP: More than 10 cities belong to the County Joint Powers. The only one generating $700,000 a year in surplus is Atherton. The likely reasons: 1. The size of the Atherton Library - does not require that much staff to operate. 2. The increase in Atherton property tax revenues.
SOP: How is it that library funds can be used for a traffic light if the library is moved to the park, but can not be used for a traffic light if the library stays where it is?
We keep hearing that library funds can only be used for library resons. Explain the Double standard.
Did the EIR state that moving the library to the park will add traffic to Middlefield requiring a traffic light? Is that how the traffic light costs can be assigned to the library in the park?
Why not turn the council chambers over to the library and use the funds to retrofit the council chambers to meet the event needs of the library. Council only needs the room once a month. Give the rest of the funds to local schools.
MCK: "A library in the Park ... seem to be elements of the sort of first class recreational park Olive Palmer would have wanted"
SOP: That opinion is more then 50 years old. Since the woman's sports, soccer, population growth all add to the need for open space, the Menlo Library is so close by, would Olive Palmer wanted a just a small library like Atherton had in the 1950s or at least a 13,500 square foot county sized library per he EIR?
MCK: "When Kroeger and Associates did its extensive study in 1959 shortly after the Park was given to the Town and which actually surveyed entire families, it was clear that the overwhelming desired use was for a library."
SOP: That survey was done before the current Atherton library existed. The current Atherton Library resulted from a renovation and expansion in the 1960s. Why didn't they move the library to the park then? Today most people are happy with the current library. Park and Rec suggested the council survey the residents last Summer, but Widmer, McKeithen, and Dobbie voted "No".
MCK: "Was it in any way comparable to the misrepresentations and tactics used by the opponents? Having carefully watched and been involved in the process for more than two years, I think not. "
SOP: More than a year ago the Park and Recreation Commission suggested the Council survey the residents of the town, Council Members Lewis and Carlson supported this concept and council members Widmer, Dobbie, and McKeithen opposed. More than a years efforts took place to encourage the Widmer, McKeithen, and Dobbie to change their mind. Is the best word to call these efforts: "Tactics"?