MP council starts budget talks Tuesday

Building more than 1,400 feet of new sidewalks, and redesigning a downtown parking lot. Improving facilities at the Onetta Harris Community Center, and continuing efforts to revamp El Camino Real. These tasks are among the list of priority projects Menlo Park staff is suggesting the City Council fund during the fiscal year that starts July 1, and council members will discuss that list when they kick off 2008-09 budget talks at their meeting on Tuesday, March 11.

The meeting is devoted to what projects the council should fund next fiscal year, and is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center, between Laurel and Alma streets.

Council members have the final say on what projects get funded, but city staff has identified 54 projects that various commissions and the council itself have shown an interest in pursuing. Finance Director Carol Augustine has recommended that the council approve 38 of those projects for the coming year.

Some of the more costly projects include:

** $975,000 to redesign the downtown parking plaza between Doyle and Curtis streets, adjacent to Su Hong To Go.

** Up to $750,000 to create a plan to revamp properties along El Camino Real.

** More than $1 million in citywide sidewalk repairs and construction, including building 1,400 feet of new sidewalks.

Recreation upgrades

City staff is also recommending a slew of recreation projects for next fiscal year, including moving ahead with plans to build a new Burgess Gym, and allotting $575,000 to study building adult-sized fields at Kelly Park.

Other upgrades include improvements for the Nealon Park softball field, building a shade structure over the Belle Haven Child Development Center playground, replacing outdated equipment in the Onetta Harris Community Center weight room, and spending $110,000 to fix landscaping, playground equipment, and park benches at various city parks.


Like this comment
Posted by Jim Lewis
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 7, 2008 at 5:42 pm

What I want to know is whether the 2008-2009 budget covering millions of dollars of projects and salaries covers even a nickel in public "art"? Other cities all around Menlo Park have recognized the value of art as an important component to the community. Art in many forms helps contribute to our culture. It has the potential to add pizzazz. It's the icing on the cake. For many, art is described as "music to the eyes."

If art is not presently in the budget, can it be? Without an Arts Commission to assist with this important community issue, this choice is relegated to the City Council. Will the "vision" for El Camino Real and Santa Cruz Avenue include art? Will our parks have an item of "art"? Will new developments in town, including the Bohannon and Rosewood Hotel have "public art"? If not, will our community then only be "brick and mortar" along with landscaping, asphalt and concrete?

Like this comment
Posted by Otto Strada
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 10, 2008 at 3:34 pm

I hope that repaving streets in the downtown area is at the top of the list.
Santa Cruz Avenue is OK, but virtually every other street around it is a mess. Fremont is about 6 months away from reverting to a gravel road and Menlo Ave. is downright hazardous.

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