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Palo Alto Art Center to undergo $7 million renovation

Original post made on Aug 20, 2010

The nearly 40-year-old Palo Alto Art Center will be getting a mid-life revamp -- a long-awaited $7 million facility upgrade slated to begin next April. Plans, conditionally approved by the city's Architectural Review Board Thursday, include the creation of a children's wing and new courtyard, air-circulation and building-code upgrades, plus exhibition-hall and aesthetic improvements.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, August 20, 2010, 9:41 AM

Comments (23)

Posted by Another Waste Of City Money, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 20, 2010 at 10:58 am

Why can't the Art Center be sold to "private interests". Given the huge infrastructure backlog ($500M-$600M), every public dollar spent on "art" has to be seen as irresponsible.

Most people in Palo Alto don't use this facility. Why should the Palo Alto taxpayers be funding this center for people who don't live here?


Posted by yipee, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 20, 2010 at 10:58 am

Great news for the Art Center and Palo Alto! Now how about something similar for the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo?


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Where is this money coming from? How about selling naming rights to bring in some revenue from the Art Center? The same could be said for the Jr. Zoo.


Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Money for the art center

Money to renovate the city council chambers

Money to renovate College Terrace Library

Money to do BMR housing, etc. etc.

But no money for the Public Safety building, that the Blue Ribbon Panney says it an absolute necessity... where are the priorities?


Posted by Another childcare center, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 20, 2010 at 12:26 pm

" the creation of a children's wing "
The libraries have become childcare centers ($76,000,000) why not the art center too.
To heck with the grass and trees, we need parking spaces for the mommies.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Aug 20, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Dear "Another waste" resident

You say..."Most people in Palo Alto don't use this facility. Why should the Palo Alto taxpayers be funding this center for people who don't live here?" Pretty narrow-minded and selfish. Why does SF fund it's museums and other cultural center?

Often it sounds as if some PA residents want to close their borders. The self-centered attitude that is sometimes on these pages is tiresome.

By the way --- I saw 100s of locals taking advantage of Stanford's free MemChu concerts the other night. I thought it was nice....a community event for the whole community, the University, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and beyond.


Posted by jardins, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2010 at 5:43 pm

I have a question: how can a building be LEED-certified and have an air-conditioning system? I thought CEILING FANS were what we should all be using.

Is this another case of the City telling residents to do one thing, while it itself does another? An example: residents shouldn't use pesticides and herbicides on their lawns, BUT recently we learned from the Weekly that all parks are sprayed with those toxic chemicals except the little park near Alma & Oregon Expressway! I myself haven't used chemicals for years and years, but I resent that the City does.


Posted by jardins, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm

And (as a postscript) those UGLY and over-high fences! Looks like a horse farm--tacky!!


Posted by South PA Resident, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Just another freebie for North Palo Alto. First the Children's library is rebuilt, then the Children's Zoo is expanded, then it's $1.3 per year for the Children's Theater. Now it's the Art's Center getting $4.5 Million so it too can be renovated with most of the money being spent to build facilities for the children.

Do you notice a pattern here. All those greedy people from North Palo Alto have to say to Council is: "It's for the children", and they get a vastly disproportionate amount of our tax dollars compared to South Palo Alto.

Meanwhile to get the Mitchell Park library rebuilt we have to pay for a $75 Million bond measure. Oh yes, Downtown and Main will take a lot of that money too.

When they say more than 2/3rds of Palo Alto's tax dollars are spent in North Palo Alto, they're not kidding.


Posted by Philistine, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 20, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Why spend money on art, music, film, theatre, or any of the fine or performing arts? What a waste of tax money. All public money should be spent to fill potholes and other practical things like that. What does the life of the mind matter anyway? Keep taxes way way down. Forget about the arts. People think too much anyway. Who needs to be inspired?


Posted by Accidental Siliconer, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 20, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Oh, fuss, fuss, fuss. Some people seem to read PA Online just to complain about everything they read, even good news.


Posted by no kidding, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 21, 2010 at 12:21 am

South PA Resident,
You hit a nerve. I'm really upset that in redoing the Mitchell Park Library, they won't even be adding a permanent stage so that there will be a somewhat reasonable performance space on this side of town. (Even though it wouldn't be THAT difficult or even relatively very expensive to add one.) I voted for the bond because I thought COMMUNITY CENTER would mean something more comparable to what they have on the other side of town, not just a newer version of the pathetic and limited function space we have here now.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2010 at 9:20 am

There are two rooms with stages at Cubberley, the auditorium now used by the library and the theatre.


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm

>"I'm really upset that in redoing the Mitchell Park Library, they won't even be adding a permanent stage so that there will be a somewhat reasonable performance space on this side of town."

Good grief! Yes, there are stages at Cubberley. There are stages in some of the schools. Paly is getting a whole new theater. And don't forget the CT.

People have completely lost sight of priorities. All this stuff costs taxpayer money! It's not free.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Wait a minute. This is a good news story.

I think that reading all posts on PAonline as irony or comedy really helps with the blood pressure.


Posted by A Friend, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 21, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Why is there never any money to properly remodel fire stations? Look closely. Some built in the 50's and are now so outdated the engines barely fit in them. Antennas scrape going in and out while money is wasted counting the cities trees. The importance and necessity of many city projects should be re-prioritized but that falls to the politicians and the ones running the city don't have the strength and the nerve to tell the citizens they can't have everything they want.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Does Emily Latella live in Palo Alto?


Posted by VoxPop, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 21, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Not only does Emily live here, many, many of her siblings and relatives do, too. Evidence abounds on these threads.


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 22, 2010 at 11:06 am

Who is Emily Latella?


Posted by VoxPop, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 22, 2010 at 11:43 am

You could look it up.


Posted by No!, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 24, 2010 at 6:00 pm

7 MM is too much for art or art education -- obvious priorities are things in which every member of the community has an interest: safety, sanitation, education basic social services and public works as needed. In a time of retrenchment for many, 7 MM for art is absurd. It is not fair to tax the community as a whole to support as a public good projects that are not of general interest. If there are private philanthropic donors who would support this, let them lead the way so that the toll on the public is MUCH less. And defer the public component until times are more secure.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Aug 24, 2010 at 6:13 pm

To "No!"
Read the end of the article -- PA is not paying for the whole project. only code items.....
"The estimated cost for the project is $7 million, with the city paying for the electrical, mechanical and building-code upgrades and nonprofit group the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation funding the children's wing and improvements to the exhibition gallery.

"The public-private partnership between the city and the foundation is really wonderful and indicative of how well the city can work with individuals," Kienzle said.


Posted by Another childcare center, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 24, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Sharing the cost sounds good until the goes up up up, like it did at Lytton Plaza. When the promoters there had the city's promise to pay half, the cost went up by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The city needs to put a cap on its share.


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