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News - November 19, 2021

Community briefs

New community center in Belle Haven breaks ground

Menlo Park's Meta-funded community center in Belle Haven broke ground amid shiny-shoveled fanfare on Saturday, Nov. 6.

The new, multi-generational facility is set to replace the Onetta Harris Community Center and Senior Center previously located at 100 Terminal Ave.

According to a spokesperson from Meta (formerly Facebook), the development represents a $45 million investment from the Menlo Park-headquartered company.

The facility is set to include a recreation center, fitness center and senior center, as well as after-school child care, a pool, a library, a space for teens, a makerspace and community rooms. It is expected to open in 2023.

Residents petition to move planned soccer field at Flood Park

A petition to add property to Flood Park that would enable a planned soccer field to be relocated to a place that doesn't require removing heritage trees has garnered about 170 signatures as of Wednesday, Nov. 17.

The idea has been put forward by a group called Flood Park Tree Advocates 2021, which describes itself on the Change.org website as "a small ad hoc group of local people concerned about preserving California native trees and ecosystems and who want to help the public become more aware of which trees are slated for removal in Flood Park."

The group would like for San Mateo County to acquire rights to use part of the Flood School property that currently belongs to the Ravenswood City School District in order to create new playing fields and recreational green space rather than move forward with an existing plan to install a sports field along the park's Bay Road side, which would involving the removal of more trees.

"Extending the park to the former school site ... enables the preservation of the historic woodland of the park, along with the amenities currently in that area <0x014> the "nature-oriented" side of the park," say supporters of the idea.

The matter is urgent, they say, because the Flood School is planning to be leased for development at the end of November.

They have created a website offering more information at floodpark.org.

Belle Haven Action offers outreach office hours

Anyone interested in learning more about health and wellness resources, or simply asking neighborhood leaders questions, can attend office hours hosted by Belle Haven Action at the Belle Haven School Library at 415 Ivy Drive from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays in November.

—Kate Bradshaw

Thanksgiving travel expected to increase

People should pack some extra patience this year if they're traveling for Thanksgiving. Airports and highways will likely be crowded as more than 7 million Californians are expected to leave home for turkey festivities — a 14% increase over last year, according to AAA Northern California.

Although more Californians will be traveling than in 2020, the numbers are predicted to be slightly less than during the pre-pandemic holiday season in 2019.

"Travel volumes have recovered within 5% of pre-pandemic levels, and air travel has almost entirely recovered from its dramatic decline during (the pandemic), up 80% over last year," said Sergio Avila, spokesperson for AAA Northern California. "Those traveling this Thanksgiving can expect to face more crowded roads and airports than they've seen in some time."

Between Nov. 24 and Nov. 28, Oakland International Airport is projecting 167,000 total departing and arriving passengers to pass through the airport for the Thanksgiving holiday, based on airline schedules.

"We expect passenger traffic to be in the range of 70 to 80% of what was seen during the same period in 2019," said Oakland International Airport spokesperson Kaley Skantz.

San Francisco International Airport says the lifting of the international travel ban for vaccinated visitors will mean more passenger traffic over the holidays and said with more airline seats now available, SFO anticipates reaching 60 to 65% of pre-pandemic passenger levels.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not currently asking Americans to stay home if they're vaccinated. Unvaccinated people are encouraged not to travel, and either way, masks must be worn on all forms of mass public transit.

—Bay City News Service

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