Menlo details capital improvement projects


New sidewalks on Santa Cruz Avenue, signs at the Onetta Harris Community Center, native landscaping in the downtown area, and better access to schools for pedestrians and bicyclists are among several new capital improvement projects Menlo Park's City Council approved at its meeting Tuesday, March 23.

The council voted unanimously to fund 23 new projects with an estimated cost of $3.9 million in the 2010-11 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The city presented the projects in a five-year capital improvement plan, a change from its custom of listing projects year-by-year. The funding comes from a grab bag of city purses, and from federal grants.

Among the projects:

■ The downtown area is in line for a revamped irrigation system, and for new landscaping that will include drought-tolerant plants. Those projects will cost $175,000, and will be carried out over the next two years.

■ The city will install new sidewalks on a stretch of Santa Cruz Avenue between Fremont Park and Hillview Middle School, at an estimated cost of $500,000. It has budgeted $1.5 million over the next five years to repair sidewalks across the city.

■ It plans to install lighted crosswalks at three Santa Cruz Avenue intersections near Hillview School. The crosswalks will be lit with wireless solar LEDs, a technology the city has embraced in recent years. That project, with an estimated cost of $140,000, will be funded through the federal "Safe Routes to School" program.

■ A number of changes are in store for the area around Laurel School, thanks to a $400,000 "Safe Routes" grant. They include lighted crosswalks, signs that display drivers' speeds, an extended sidewalk, and more streetlights.

■ The parking plaza in front of Trader Joe's will see nearly $1 million worth of improvements over the next two years, including new trees, additional lighting, and a repaved parking lot in some sections.

■ Visitors to the Onetta Harris Community Center in Belle Haven will be greeted with several new signs designed to steer people around the large campus, which is currently sign-free. That project will cost $35,000. The pool at the center will also get a $200,000 facelift, though it will still only remain open in the summer months.

■ Nearly $600,000 will go to park maintenance programs over the next five years, such as repairing fences and backstops, replacing benches and trash cans, and re-sodding portions of fields.

Storm drain improvements and devices to remove trash from the city's storm water system will cost the city nearly $1 million over the next five years.

■ The city plans to spend $425,000 from its redevelopment fund over the next three years for streetscape improvements on O'Brien Drive, intended mostly to benefit business and property owners in the area.

The list is not set in stone. The council will be able to modify it when it approves a budget for upcoming fiscal year. The plan lists 108 total projects that are scheduled to commence over the next five years.

Click here (PDF) to view the full list of projects. Pages 54 through 65 contain detailed descriptions of new projects.

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Like this comment
Posted by Yeah right
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 30, 2010 at 12:21 pm

If it cost $4000 to put up the crossing flags by Draeger's at University and Middle, I shudder to think how little landscaping we'll get downtown for $175000.

Like this comment
Posted by Yeah right
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 30, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Correction - University at Menlo

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 30, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Yeah right:

you have the state law to thank for the high cost of public works. Contractors on public works projects are required to pay "prevailing wage" which is typically whatever the union workers are being paid plus the cost of their benefits. If public works projects were allowed without the prevailing wage requirements we would get a lot more bang for our buck.

Like this comment
Posted by Voted for Measure T
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 31, 2010 at 7:41 am

Measure T is supposed to fund a new gymnastics center. The gymnastics center is profitable and brings in needed income for the City. It needs air conditioning so that classes can run in the summer, it needs to be rebuilt or renovated so that there aren't floods and leaks in the winter, and it needs to be expanded. This is why we voted for measure T. Yet there's no mention of this in the capital improvement plans. The City spent thousands of dollars on studies on the issue after measure T passed, and were to proceed with the new gymnastics facility. The money is earmarked for his purposes, and it's just not kosher to take the money after the voters decided to spend it on gymnastics, and put it towards something else. The community still is waiting for these improvements which measure T promised.

Like this comment
Posted by Sean Howell
Almanac staff writer
on Mar 31, 2010 at 10:35 am

Sean Howell is a registered user.

"Voted for Measure T":

The city has tentatively budgeted $1.5 million in the 2012-13 fiscal year to design the gym, assuming that it has enough money to start building it in 2013-14. This is on page 17.

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Sean Howell
Almanac staff writer
on Mar 31, 2010 at 10:35 am

Sean Howell is a registered user.

To design the gymnastics center, excuse me. Not gym.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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