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Facebook announces plan to fund new Belle Haven Library and community center

Original post made on Oct 4, 2019

Facebook officials introduced plans to fund a "state-of-the-art" community center in Menlo Park's Belle Haven neighborhood during a community meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 4, 2019, 11:40 AM

Comments (12)

4 people like this
Posted by suburban park resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 4, 2019 at 12:41 pm

suburban park resident is a registered user.

I generally disapprove of the consistent exceptions Facebook expansion gets relative to local homeowners and the worsening traffic, however this seems like a great contribution to the surrounding community. I hope some of our more vocal residents can appreciate this and avoid looking a gift horse in the mouth like they did the Bohannan offer to fund a new main library.


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Posted by sie
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 4, 2019 at 12:53 pm

sie is a registered user.

The story contains an error. Rose Bickerstaff is not president of the neighborhood association; Rachel Bickerstaff is the president.


10 people like this
Posted by Belle Haven Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 4, 2019 at 4:13 pm

Belle Haven Resident is a registered user.

It wasn't David Bohannon who offered to fund a rebuild of the main library; it was John Arrilaga through one of the Arrilaga foundations. One reason that Menlo Park refused the offer was that he refused to let any of the funds be used to build a library in and for Belle Haven.


5 people like this
Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 4, 2019 at 6:05 pm

This is a smart move on the part of Facebook for community PR. With the possible exception of improvements to the elementary school, it's the most obvious service to make life better for residents. The problem with the offer to replace the main library was that there wasn't much of a pressing need to upgrade it, and it would pull money away from a new Belle Haven library. This project has no such issues.

You can look for strings attached; as far as I can tell, Facebook is probably doing this to get people to support Willow Village. The main concern about Willow Village is traffic. I see no downside to a new library/community/senior/fitness center in and of itself. The city needs to have a plan to deal with traffic before Willow Village goes in; that helps everyone, residents and Facebook alike. As long as people remain clear about that, a new community is a great and welcome gift.


6 people like this
Posted by Lynne Bramlett
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 4, 2019 at 10:00 pm

Lynne Bramlett is a registered user.

To clarify, Arrilaga's offer required the public to first pay what turned out to be $30 million, including soft costs. So he did not offer to pay the full costs but only the amount after $30 million.

As the Main Library had been updated multiple times, the public rightly saw the greater need in Belle Haven and objected to the continued improvement of public facilities at Burgess Park while those in District 1 were noticably inferior. They also objected to the way the offer required a major shift in agreed-upon Staff and Council priorities. Other key projects would then be delayed. Some called for a Gift Acceptance Policy, which is still needed.

In short, the public did not see a new Main Library as a priority. A City designed, and conducted by Godbe Research, 2017 City Satisfaction opinion poll showed inadequate support for a bond measure to pay for the public-funded costs. This was despite the survey's biased and leading questions designed to generate support.

Outspoken residents were a necessary part of the process to get the City to start to address the blatant inequality in City services in District 1.

Facebook's offer is to pay for the entire amount and for an established public need. I consider the offer generous and timely. However, I hope that our City most considers the opinions of those living in District 1. Should the project move forward, those residents should be deeply involved in the process.





4 people like this
Posted by correction
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 4, 2019 at 11:34 pm

Lynne Bramlett writes, "Arrilaga's offer required the public to first pay what turned out to be $30 million, including soft costs."

This is a false statement. John Arrillaga offered for pay for all construction costs once the city put in only $20 million. The soft costs are something the city later identified, NOT A REQUIREMENT FROM ARRILLAGA for thinks like furniture, bookshelves, and everything that goes into furnishing a new library.


2 people like this
Posted by Lynne Bramlett
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 5, 2019 at 12:10 am

Lynne Bramlett is a registered user.

I disagree with Other's characterization of my statement of the public's need to pay $30 million as a false statement. The record is more nuanced. Further, Other also supports my point that residents would need to pay the $30 million, which the donor could have picked up as part of his offer.

Other, I suggest that you be more careful in your statements. Further, I have a strong hunch as to who you are.


1 person likes this
Posted by suburban park resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 5, 2019 at 7:28 am

suburban park resident is a registered user.

Sorry wrong donor named... I stand corrected. But have any of you actually been to and inside the Belle Haven library? Although smaller it’s actually much cleaner and nicer than the main library. So I guess I just don’t agree with those who demanded Arrilaga pay for a belle haven library update. My point is that I hope people can graciously donations when they’re offered to the community.


1 person likes this
Posted by Question
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 5, 2019 at 7:55 am

Question is a registered user.

if a friend gave you a new car for your birthday, do you refuse it and say you will only accept it if they pay for new furniture for your house?


5 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 5, 2019 at 9:13 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Question:

That's a false comparison. Arrillaga's offer was more like someone offering to give you a car, but you had to buy the interior seats, dash, etc. and put in the drive train. That's not an offer I'd accept.


5 people like this
Posted by Belle Haven Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 5, 2019 at 7:53 pm

Belle Haven Resident is a registered user.

Hi, Suburban Park. I live a block from the Belle Haven Library and have been to it many times. It is not a full service library. It is a very good but small school library, closed to the general public during school hours. Because of its location and primary function, neither its facilities nor its hours can be expanded adequately to meet community needs. The community has been saying this to the city consistently for decades. The city has done its best to upgrade the small facility but we need more.


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Posted by a real opportunity
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 10, 2019 at 4:50 am

a real opportunity is a registered user.


Thank you Facebook, while not a predicate to build the Village which I also strongly support,

I would suggest however everyone take the time to see for themselves the dicrepit condition of the Belle Haven school. something could be worked out with the city, FB and Arriaga to remodel or build new a nice, modern stem school, for all grades k-8 while discussing the Village, It could be the envy of schools for miles around. and I don't care who puts their name on it, Call it a collaberation.

I know the school belongs to Ravenswood, but there must be a deal that could be struck to make everyone happy,.

There was a report done a few years ago about the condition of Belle Haven School, I suggest everyone read it you will be shocked. It's only gotten worse,

Eventually FB employees will be having families and I'm sure would love to send their kids to a modern new campus,

Call the Ravenswood School Administration for a copy of the report with costs,

This is a chance to build state of the art and also to integrate all kinds of different ethnic backgrounds, w/ an after school day school program, w/ some expectations of interning and eventually working at FB

My kids used to tutor at Belle Haven School it was one of the things in their busy lives they were most proud of.

My kids are grown and out living their lives but the school is still looking for tutors.

Belle Haven could go from the place that nobody paid attention to become the place to be especially with the village, community center , library, and hopefully a new school, Perhaps if funds could be found Arriaga could do a rough estimate to get started.

Let's face it folks their trying to learn in old fallen down trailers with buckets when it rains and no heat,


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