Town Square

Post a New Topic

How will Menlo Park come up with $20 million to rebuild library?

Original post made on Aug 10, 2017

Now that Menlo Park has accepted John Arrillaga's offer to pay for all but the first $20 million cost of a new main library, how will the city come up with its share of the money?

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 10, 2017, 9:26 AM

Comments (24)

53 people like this
Posted by Mark D.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 10, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Mark D. is a registered user.

I'm no doubt in the minority here but I like the existing main library building (aesthetically and functionally) and don't see the great need for additional space, never mind the city-funded study which found it's required for "studying, tutoring, meetings and perhaps a 'maker space'". And if that 11,000 s.f. comes at the cost of removing trees and paving over more of the lawn area in our community center then I'm actively opposed to any such project. I have never once been at the library when it was (what I might deem) overcrowded, so if private spaces are needed for tutoring, meetings or the like perhaps a smaller interior remodel in one wing might suffice.

Mark


45 people like this
Posted by MP Resident since 1990
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 10, 2017 at 1:06 pm

I agree with Mark D. I see no reason for the city to take on debt for a library remodel when the pressing need is for a Belle Haven branch. Parking can be a problem when there are events going on elsewhere in Burgess Park or the civic center, but crowding at the library is never a problem. If the need is for meeting space, why not remodel the building across from the city offices? That space is underutilized and could be used for meetings and work-space.


4 people like this
Posted by MP Resident since 1979
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 10, 2017 at 2:07 pm

I use the library several times a year personally and now that I have a grandson, I am utilizing it weekly to attend their toddler programs on Thursday. I have read the input of Mark D and I see his viewpoint, but I think a remodeled modern library which invites people in would be a great upgrade to our community. I like the work tables and study carrells and nooks and crannies. I think using some city funds is a good beginning, but getting the Friends of the Library to do a crowd sourcing campaign is also possible. I would be happy to donate and I will bet that many residents would. I don't know about the Belle Haven need for a library, but I certainly support having satellite libraries if there is proof that it would be utilized. Please keep the public informed of your plans.


18 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 10, 2017 at 5:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Well run organizations depreciate their capital assets and then fund that depreciation so that they have the funds required to replace those assets when necessary. That can't be done if the organization spends all of its current revenues on current expenses.


33 people like this
Posted by conscience
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 10, 2017 at 5:26 pm

Expanding or building a library at the existing site was not deemed to be one of the City's priorities! The Council deemed that residents in the Belle Haven needed/deserved an upgraded library....at that was the priority for the City until the $25 million offer from Mr. Arrillaga came along. Now, the Council is looking to re-order City priorities (that have had citizen input) to grab the money. Why would the Council consider selling City property? Couldn't that property be better used to address other needs (like BMR housing)? Seems like the City/Council is chasing the money rather than focusing on the real needs and priorities of MP residents. A new library is a "nice" have but not a "must" have.


23 people like this
Posted by anna
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 11, 2017 at 10:45 am

I wish this money could be used towards re-vamping the Belle Haven branch library! There is a great need for a fully accessible branch library on this side of the freeway.


2 people like this
Posted by Mper
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 11, 2017 at 1:25 pm

If the consultants who did the study came up with ~$33mil to buildout to 44k feet, where is Mr. Arrilaga's estimate of $45mil (our 20, his $25 coming from)? Is he including costs that aren't accounted for by the consultants?

Didn't I read that the City is considering a development tax for all of the new development in MP? That would be an excellent way to fund two libraries.

Also, we have a general fund. I think it might include ticket income, including camera tickets, and a lot of other monies. That would be a great place to get funds for city improvements and upgrades. Does anyone know the size of the gf and the sorts of things the city uses it for?


2 people like this
Posted by Mper
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 11, 2017 at 1:28 pm

I'm referring to large business developments, not small residential developments.


13 people like this
Posted by Stu Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 11, 2017 at 2:44 pm

My comments, round 1.

Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 11, 2017 at 3:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Stu is precisely correct - libraries as we know them are no longer needed.

The City needs to come into the digital age and revisualize the entire community's information needs and the entire community's need for common meeting spaces rather than just building a new and bigger library West of 101.


10 people like this
Posted by horse out of the barn
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 13, 2017 at 5:46 pm

@ MPer "Didn't I read that the City is considering a development tax for all of the new development in MP? That would be an excellent way to fund two libraries."

I don't know what that is. Consultants have pointed out to the city that they COULD impose a tax on development to fund infrastructure improvements but the council has not put any in place. Facebook skates by, Greenheart skates by, and Stanford is about to skate by.

I agree with those concerned about Belle Haven library. It is totally inadequate in size, access, hours open. That needs to be a higher priority. Sometimes a glittering object is a distraction. That shouldn't take the place of planning and priority setting.


2 people like this
Posted by West of 280
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Aug 13, 2017 at 7:15 pm

Short answer: Menlo Park does not have sufficient funds. Don't expect a new library anytime soon


21 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 13, 2017 at 7:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I am reminded of counsel from a wise friend:

"Sometimes free is too expensive."


7 people like this
Posted by Past bad decision
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Aug 14, 2017 at 1:52 pm

infrastructure costs are usually met when new developments are proposed to a city. In order to have that power to negotiate with developers, our council should have and can in the future keep the developer's right to build at a level at which most will want more. They answer to investors. That's the wiggle room where a city has power to enter into a negotiation with a developer. Our council gave that right away when it drew up the Specific Plan for El Camino Real and the downtown and then did it again when the General Plan was updated. The City hires consultants who either have relationships with developers or are in favor of changing suburbs into urban areas. (More consulting work for them?)

Facebook should have been held to a lower cap for its buildings and a cap for the number of cars it will allow. Stanford is held to such caps by Santa Clara County.

remember, Stanford may not pay anything more in property tax than it has paid in the past. If it fills the office and housing with Stanford affiliated business or employees, the city will lose out. In exchange for this egregious give away, the city should beg (shame) the university to pick up the entire bill for the caltrain undercrossing that will allow the tenants of this 400,000 sf development to access Burgess park. Yes, they can use our park without paying property tax.

Our council needs to take a basic lesson from SF and SJ. It is giving our town away and leaving behind the very people who live her.


4 people like this
Posted by Stu Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 14, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Read my update:

Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Aug 15, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Just finished reading “Menlo Park Library Decision Should Be Revisited”. I am confused. Is not a “billionaire” someone who is worth one thousand million dollars? Seems strange that someone like Mr. Arrillaga would not be able to carve out one of his thousand million dollars and rebuild the library on his own. Also, with the leftover, he ought to be able to build or refurnish many other libraries in Menlo Park, Redwood City, and neighboring cities. I wonder why he does not do so?


Like this comment
Posted by JBCHAM
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 15, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Jeff, Are you saying Mr. Arrillaga should build a library in Menlo Park( and other communities) just because he is a billionaire successful businessman and can afford to do so? I believe he has made a very generous offer to the city to assist the city in rebuilding and adding on to the existing library if that is what the city wants to do. It is now up to the city to decide if it wants to accept his offer.


12 people like this
Posted by Fact
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 16, 2017 at 7:46 am

A decision to build a new library where one is NOT needed over one that IS needed in a less well off part of town is racist.

Just the kind of thing Trump would do.

Don't be like Trump, Menlo Park.


6 people like this
Posted by Pot meet Kettle
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 16, 2017 at 10:59 am

Yes, the concept of a library and scope of library services is evolving, and a "library" building needs to evolve accordingly. Thankfully we have professional library staff and volunteers who are ready and willing to take on the challenge of making sure the library provides the right mix of resources and programs (story time, resume workshops, study/meeting spaces) for the community it serves. However, we must provide them the tools and space to do so. IN BOTH BELLE HAVEN AND THE CIVIC CENTER.

On a personal note, any parent of young children (and there are lots of us in Menlo Park) will attest that it is increasingly challenging to limit "screen time", especially on rainy days. A well-appointed space filled with a thoughtfully curated collection of hard copy books is an invaluable, and increasingly scarce resource. Let's preserve and improve the ones we have.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 16, 2017 at 11:05 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"we have professional library staff and volunteers who are ready and willing to take on the challenge of making sure the library provides......."

The problem with that statement is that it begins with the premise that these "library" people know what the broader wants in terms of information resources and places for the community to come together.

Asking their automobile dealers what kind of new cars they wanted did not turn out too well for the Big Three.


2 people like this
Posted by Pot meet Kettle
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 16, 2017 at 12:08 pm

@Peter Carpenter

Same critique applies to "fire" people who thought it would be a good idea to send eminent domain notices to the family who lives next to the Chilco Street fire station.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 16, 2017 at 1:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"send eminent domain notices to the family who lives next to the Chilco Street fire station."

No such notices were ever sent - please do your homework before make such false statements.


4 people like this
Posted by Pot meet Kettle
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 16, 2017 at 2:14 pm

@Peter Carpenter

"In mid-February, the fire district sent letters to three residences, including the Hoermanns, at 1457 Chilco St., 321 Terminal Ave. and 351 Terminal, to announce the possibility of acquiring the properties so it can expand a station at 1467 Chilco."

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 16, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Thank you for proving my point - these were NOT eminent domain notices.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Tokyo ramen shop to open first U.S. outpost in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 22 comments | 4,107 views

It’s Not Someone Else’s Responsibility to Honor My Marriage . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 778 views

Babywearing
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 764 views

 

Meet the winners!

The results are in. Check out The Almanac readers' favorite foods, services and fun stuff in the area.

View Winners