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Palo Alto is fast becoming a dormitory town.

Original post made by Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 5, 2011

We have lost the bowling alley. There is disrespect for those who would have liked to preserve it. Borders is now closed and there is disrespect for those who would like to preserve it.

It seems that office parks, condos and upmarket retail are the only things that get approved around here.

Where is the charm that Palo Alto once was? Where can Palo Altans go to have some fun? Why can't we keep some recreational venues in Palo Alto? Why do we have to go out of town for most of our recreation? Why can't we have large full service supermarkets and big box stores since most of us use them? Why do we have to go out of town for most of our regular shopping for groceries, affordable clothing and household items?

Why is it that if we even complain about it that we are told recreational space is too expensive to keep, and we have to have office space or condos instead?

What are we doing with our town?

Comments (4)

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Posted by Ada
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2011 at 11:29 am

Valid points. Not sure much could be done about non-profitable businesses like Bowling Alley and Borders, but residents should definitely have more influence over the City Planning Department decisions about construction and should push the city government to search for better ways of attracting profitable small businesses of a broad range.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2011 at 1:46 pm


For what it's worth, the bowling alley was a viable business and the owner of the business wanted to continue. The landlord was the one who wanted to sell out a large pocket of land which included the PA bowl and some other businesses.

As for attracting small businesses, I think there are many small businesses for us to use in Palo Alto - particularly retail. I think it is the larger businesses that need to be attracted. I use very few small businesses on a regular basis, but I use Safeway, Target, Office Max, etc. very regularly and my sales tax goes out of town along with my recreational spending.

Whenever it is suggested that we have a large grocery store or a big box store, the older population say they like it the way it has always been. When we lose a long time institution like the bowling alley, we are told to move with the times.

I live in Palo Alto, the kids go to school here. We moved here because when we came we liked the small schools and it was close to work. Now work, shopping and play all take place out of Palo Alto and the schools are no longer small.

Times certainly have changed.

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Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 6, 2011 at 1:57 am

Well said, Resident. The closing of Borders is heartbreaking to me. And the idea of turning it into modern offices--ugh. If it must be retail and offices, why not keep the charming character of the theatre, as Borders did? And keep that grand staircase!

I still lament the demise of Andronico's, a beautiful grocery store with wonderful employees.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Today I hear that Mountain View is building an athletic/sport area at Shoreline with baseball diamonds, tennis courts and other recreational and sporting activities. Why can't Palo Alto do something similar.

Instead, the gas station on Middlefield has a new office retail building with no renters!

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