Last week my girlfriends and I visited the Allied Arts Guild. It was like walking through a ghost town. The only thing missing was tumbleweeds blowing through the deserted gardens and breezeways. The gardens were neglected, with untrimmed hedges, dead leaves on plants, dead blossoms on flowers, and poorly maintained paths and walkways. The few shops on the property were virtually empty, with no customers and limited displays of goods. The restaurant was closed and locked and tables and chairs were scattered about inside. Many shops were boarded up or empty, and part of the back of the property was falling into the creek. There was a look of decay that was unexpected in a property that has just undergone a multi-million dollar restoration. Those clerks we spoke with said that few daily visitors has been the norm since the restaurant closed, and many are questioning how long they can (or want to) survive in the deserted facility.
We hadn’t been aware of the recent events at the Guild and one of the clerks referred us to the Almanac’s web site for more information. After reading the Town Forum entries, I’m amazed! How can the auxiliary that owns the property let this happen! I realize that maintaining the grounds costs money, but if the roses, flowers and shrubs die, what is there to draw visitors to the property?
I hope that those members of the Allied Arts Auxiliary who can see that there are grave problems move quickly to fix them. The gardens won’t survive with this kind of neglect, and neither will the retail tenants. If and when the facility closes, which appears inevitable according to postings on this web site, we’ll all miss the wonderful gardens and delightful shops we’ve known and loved for years, and we’ll wish that the Allied Arts Auxiliary had taken better care of the Menlo Park community’s artistic legacy.