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Library - Slow Down and Get Feedback

From: domainremoved <Jennifer>
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2017 14:12:26 -0700

Dear City Council Members,

This email is in regards to Agenda Item I2, the Library. After reviewing
the Staff Report, I remain concerned about this project for the following

*Not Enough Community Feedback*

While there is community feedback built into the siting of the new library,
there has been insufficient community feedback as to whether or not Menlo
Park wants and/or needs a new main library. If City Council votes to move
forward with this project, Menlo Park will be on the hook for at least $30
million ($20 million of construction costs and $10 million of soft costs).
We should slow down and make sure this is something we truly need and want
as a community before we rush into this big commitment. If you want to
spend money on outreach, use it to see if residents even want a new library.

While it’s nice to hear that Mr. Arrillaga is open to adding affordable
housing to the project, which our city desperately needs, the Staff Report
hedges this idea multiple times with words like, “may, could and possibly.”
Some who may be troubled by the use of city resources for a new library may
be supportive if this project included needed housing...but it is
impossible to know at this stage what is really being suggested. Again,
slowing this down and obtaining community feedback now would help
illuminate these nuances.

*Other Real Priorities*

In addition to community engagement issues, I am also troubled that, once
again, other previously identified city priorities will need to be demoted
and delayed to accommodate the library. With many staffing vacancies in
Public Works, especially the Transportation Department, and many open
projects and other safety-related projects that need to be addressed, now
is not the time to add “nice-to-haves” to our work plan. Everyday kids
getting to school face unsafe walking and biking conditions. What is the
status of the Willows Complete Streets/Laurel School Project, the Belle
Haven Cut Through Project, the City-Wide Safe Routes to School Program? And
that’s not even mentioning Safe Routes issues that have yet to become
Council priorities like Santa Cruz & Sharon Road, Olive & Santa Cruz, the
HAWK on Middlefield, Laurel & Encinal, to name a few. Please allocate funds
and resources towards our city’s basic needs before indulging in
unnecessary projects.

*Special Treatment*

There is also the issue of this project getting an immediate $1 million, a
new staff person and a higher contract award authority to the City Manager.
Yes, “free” money is exciting, but does a new library (or community center,
or whatever it ends up being) deserve all of this urgency, changes to our
policies and resources when there are other, bigger issues facing our city?

*Belle Haven*

Finally, it is not fair to the residents of Belle Haven to hold the Belle
Haven library improvements hostage to the main library project. You should
make immediate improvements in Belle Haven, form a Belle Haven Advisory
Committee and get going on real change in Belle Haven, regardless of the
main library. This should have been done long ago. To see these
concessions, only now as a form of appeasement because of Arrillaga’s
offer, is insulting.

All this being said, please slow down and first see if this is what our
city really wants. If Mr. Arrillaga can’t wait for us to do this right,
then maybe that’s something to which we should pay attention.

Thank you for your consideration.


Jen Wolosin

Resident, Menlo Park
Received on Tue Oct 10 2017 - 14:17:31 PDT

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