Palo Alto will not sell Cubberley site

City Council declines to sell 8-acre property to Foothill College; calls for partnership with school district

Foothill College's prospects for building a major education center in south Palo Alto suffered a fatal blow Tuesday morning when the City Council decided not to sell a portion of Cubberley Community Center to the college.

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Posted by Frank
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2011 at 6:02 am

"The district has notified Sunnyvale that it might be interested in space at the Onizuka Air Force Station, Foothill-De Anza Chancellor Linda Thor said. In addition, it has solicited proposals from private developers and received one response "that appears to be viable," Thor said, declining to elaborate." - 6/24/2011

Very good. This will enable Sunnyvale to go ahead with using available land at the former Onizuka AFS site or another plot on Kiefer Road for the campus. Knowing the foot-dragging in Palo Alto, the Cubberly buildings and land will become a dilapidated eyesore over the coming years.

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Posted by Time to step up!
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 12, 2011 at 8:46 am

Now the real leadership test begins! PAUSD, City Council, community leaders...Let's keep working together to make something real happen. Thoughtful (but timely and concrete) solutions for crowded schools and for the community!

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Posted by Tiunme to roll up our sleeves.
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 12, 2011 at 11:10 am

This article missed part of the story.

Council was very clear last night that they have felt "rebuffed" by the school district in their efforts to plan for future. Inexcusable. This planning process should have been part of bond measure planning before now, and the city should have been included if the district is going to depend on the city so heavily for subsidy. It is a reasonable expectation on Coucnil's part, that the school district should actively participate in a planning process.

I hope the PTA and community service providers will join them at the table and that everyone will familiarize themselves with the budget challenges that both the city and school district are facing. This is the beginning of a long and challenging negotiation about the future of Cubberley, a critical community asset...and the community needs to engage thoughtfully. As Council said, we MUST start now because the Cubberley lease is up in 2014.

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Posted by Close neighbor
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 12, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Now Foothill is out of the picture, the City and the School District need to do another land swap.

Originally the City wanted 8 acres of the playing fields at Cubberley when they returned 8 acres of the Terman buildings to the School District, but the School District wanted to keep the playing fields at Cubberley so they gave the City 8 acres of decaying classrooms. Now they want those buildings back!!

The City should return the 8 acres of buildings at Cubberley for 8 acres of playing fields as originally negotiated. Then when the lease between the City and the School District for the remaining 27 acres ends in December, 2013; all the Cubberley buildings should be returned to the School District so they can do with them whatever they want.

Meanwhile the City should maintain the playing fields in the same condition they keep the playing fields at Terman which they own.

Problem solved - the School District gets all the buildings back and someone else (the city) maintains the playing fields on the same terms as the Terman playing fields.

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Posted by Deep Throat
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Close Neighbor,

Your solution is not good enough for the school district.

They want to own all 35 acres AND they want to continue getting the annual lease revenue they are currently getting from the city AND they want the city to continue paying for capital improvements and maintenance of the buildings and playing fields.

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Posted by Close neighbor
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 12, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Deep Throat, you're probably right but negotiations have to start somewhere and right now the School District doesn't have the money to buy back the 8 acres of Cubberley from the City and yet they don't want the City to sell what they own to anyone else!! So another land swap may be the only answer.

The City is now getting short of money and when the new Mitchell Park Library and Community Center are opened it doesn't make sense for the City to hold on to Cubberley indefinitely. If they renegotiate now, two and a half years before the end of the lease in Dec. 2013, the School District will have time to put another bond measure on the ballot.

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Posted by pa parent
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 28, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Close neighbor,
Right now the School District absolutely has the money to buy back the 8 acres of Cubberley, real estate prices have never been lower, and the city has always been willing to cut the district a sweetheart deal, they even approached them about it a few years ago.

Measure A language clearly gives the board the discretion to buy that property, and there are ways, already proposed, to move tens of millions over to not only buy the cubberley property but also to improve it, without compromising improvements at existing campuses. Again, Measure A allows for this if the board chooses. You have no idea how rare this opportunity is.

As long as the board doesn't see this as yet another opportunity to keep stringing the city and the community along and doing nothing about strategically moving us into the future.

Why doesn't the city partner with Foothill to buy a huge piece of real estate, using the $40 mil it just got from Stanford. We have so little community space here. Wouldn't it be great to have spaces that could be rented out cheap to groups who could prove they benefit the community -- hey, let the bowling alley move someplace so the kids don't lose yet one more community space -- and adjacent to a new Foothill campus, it would be amazing for our city.

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