The Atherton City Council has voted unanimously to name a conference room in Atherton’s new library after Giants baseball legend Willie Mays.
Slated to open in October 2021, the library is currently under construction as part of the town’s new civic center project. Mays is a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and has lived on Mount Vernon Lane in Atherton for more than 40 years.
The council approved the naming by a 4-0 vote at the July 27 City Council meeting, with Mayor Rick DeGolia recused.
DeGolia was recused because he and his wife were the donors — at an amount of $100,000 — requesting to name the conference room after Mays.
In a letter to the council, DeGolia explained that he had long been interested in honoring Mays, initially hoping to rename Mount Vernon Lane after the baseball legend back in 2012.
“I had been involved on two separate occasions working with residents on Mt. Vernon Lane to rename that road for Mr. Mays, who lives on it,” DeGolia wrote. “To change the street name required the consent of 100% of those living on the street and that couldn’t be achieved on either attempt. That failure was very disturbing to Willie, to me and to others.”
DeGolia said that he spoke to Mays about the conference room, and Mays agreed to donate memorabilia to decorate the space. "When I approached Mr. Mays to see if he would support my proposal to name a room after him, he quickly embraced the idea since it didn’t require additional fundraising and offered to contribute some historic photos that depicted his most glorious moments on both the NY Giants and the San Francisco Giants," DeGolia wrote.
Mays has long been known for his involvement in the youth community, local Little League leader Sean Barstad said in a presentation to the council in 2012, including the establishment of a foundation for underprivileged youth, and work with the Boys & Girls clubs. In 2015 a new ballpark in Atherton was named in Mays' honor.
In addition to the library, Atherton's $32 million civic center will include new police and administration facilities, as well as building and planning offices. Construction of the facility is well underway, according to a report from contractors to the council on July 15.
In a staff report the council listed a range of "naming opportunities," in which donors to the civic center project could designate a piece of the project in exchange for donation. Levels of contribution range from $100,000 to $1 million.
Mays, considered by many to be the greatest baseball player of all time, was honored by San Mateo County Historical Association as a San Mateo County "History Maker" in 2012.