The town of Atherton is on a single-minded course to build a nearly 9 acre-feet storm water capture facility in our jewel of Atherton — Holbrook-Palmer Park. Caltrans is offering $13.6 million to the town to fulfill a Caltrans "requirement" to remove toxins from the rainwater that flows to the bay. This project aims to remove mercury and PCBs from the runoff as well as reduce possible flooding along Watkins Avenue and Marsh Road.
While this goal may be a commendable, environmental "green" proposal, the project has far too many potential negative consequences to be allowed to proceed.
The quantity of toxins from Atherton and the surrounding area are minuscule. Compared with that of other Peninsula cities, Atherton runoff is one of the cleanest. We have no current or historic polluting industries, only residential and open space.
The flood control will likely be unnecessary or inadequate in most circumstances. A seven-year flood would not need this project, yet a 10-year flood would overwhelm the relatively small water capture capability.
The project will unquestionably result in substantial, ongoing expenses to the town to clean filters, maintain water valves and pumps and pay the 24/7 on-call staff needed to operate the water capture gates. The estimated $70,000 annual expense is drastically understated.
A nine-acre storage reservoir will be placed under a park lawn. The overly optimistic 14-month construction estimate will be burdensome for park users and neighbors. Additionally, these "improvements" will forever change the natural beauty and tranquility of the park.
These are but a few of the issues and foreseeable problems. There are other options. The current Bayfront Store Water Project can solve any substantial matter.
The adverse effects of this project significantly outweigh any minimal benefits it offers. We need to speak out now before it is too late.
Heather Drive, Atherton
Thanks for donations to the Holiday Fund
The adult learners, tutors, staff and board members of Project Read-Menlo Park and Literacy Partners give a huge thank-you to all of the thoughtful and generous donors who gave to The Almanac Holiday Fund. The money we received from you will make a positive impact in our community.
Although our programs are volunteer-driven, it takes funds to provide the programs and materials for the Belle Haven English classes, tutor recruitment and training, outreach and testing for learners, the computer lab, and the Wednesday conversation club.
Language learners gain the skills to get better jobs, read to their kids, communicate with teachers, and contribute to their community. When people's lives are improved, our community is stronger, better and safer. Everyone is uplifted and inspired.
We are truly fortunate to live here. We are grateful to The Almanac, your readers and the community as partners in fostering our mutual vision to build literacy.
Visit projectreadmenlopark.org to learn more about Project Read and how you can help. We have 15 adults waiting for a tutor. Call us at 330-2525 or stop by the office in the Menlo Park Library for a tour.
Project Read-Menlo Park
Project Read -Menlo Park Literacy Partners
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