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April 21, 2004

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Publication Date: Wednesday, April 21, 2004

MENLO WATCH: New community police substation in Belle Haven gets council nod MENLO WATCH: New community police substation in Belle Haven gets council nod (April 21, 2004)

A plan to construct a 9,179-square-foot building in the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park and fill it with a new police substation and various retail establishments got the nod from the City Council on April 13.

Under the plan, developer Willow Corners LLC would build the structure at Ivy Drive and Willow Road, and the city would buy 3,841 square feet of it to use for the substation and other city services.

The substation is currently housed in leased space at Newbridge Street and Willow Road. Mayor Lee Duboc said it had been a longtime dream of many in the city to have a new substation.

The city has made a $100,000 down payment on the building and will also pay $400 a square foot for the space, with the funds coming from property tax revenues in Belle Haven, officials said.

The council's April 13 vote included approval of a use permit for the new retail and office structure and a general plan amendment to change the property's designation from medium-density residential to retail/commercial.

Garbage fees will go up by 5 percent

A 5 percent increase is in store for garbage, recycling and plant-material collection fees for single-family residences in Menlo Park after being approved by the City Council on April 13 for fiscal year 2004-05.

For example, the monthly rate for curbside pick-up of one 20-gallon container will increase from $4.55 to $4.78 under the agreement with Browning Ferris Industries, according to a staff report by Finance Director Uma Chokkalingam. The curbside rate for two 32-gallon containers will go up from $23.94 to $25.14.

The agreement had also included one permitted "on-call cleanup" collection per year at no extra charge, in which residents could put on the curb one large item, such as a sofa, and excess trash and yard trimmings up to two cubic yards of material.

The council, however, negotiated two "on-call cleanups" per year. That option will begin July 1 and will not be reflected in the 2004-05 rates, said Dianne Dryer, environmental programs coordinator. The extra cost for this option could be about $20,000 annually, based on how heavily the service is used, and would be spread across all of the city's customers, she said.

Ms. Dryer said after the meeting that residents should also know they can donate large items at no cost to many charities, and recycle many items at recycling centers. For more information, go to www.recycleworks.org.

City honored for children's programs

A Belle Haven program designed to help children make the transition from preschool or home to kindergarten has been honored by the California Park & Recreation Society.

The program, run by the city of Menlo Park's Community Services Department in partnerships with organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, won the Creating Community Award of Distinction and the Award of Excellence at a conference in March. Low-income children in grades one through five also receive academic assistance as part of the program.

"Menlo Park represents one of the finest recreation programs in California," said Jane Adams, director of the California Park & Recreation Society.

For more information about the community services activities, call 330-2274.

Child-care center design on agenda

What does it take to turn an old police station into a home away from home for children? The City Council is set to consider a plan to relocate the city's child-care center to the former police station at its April 27 meeting.

A conceptual design for the children's center calling for extensive remodeling of the old police station, along with landscaping, a realigned parking lot and a new modular building, was released last week. Designed by the city's consultants, the International Child Resource Institute, the project would accommodate 164 children. According to cost estimates by Leland Saylor Associates, the total construction cost would be $2.1 million, or just under $346 per square foot, not including a proposed basement storage area and elevator costing about $413,000.

For information on the report, contact the city's engineering department at 330-6740. Council meetings begin at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, located at 801 Laurel St.


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