I am a big believer that Palo Alto is a special, but not unique, community. There are other towns which offer great opportunities and amenities, Palo Alto has been very good with its offerings over the years.
They don't all come from the City. Stanford provides many programs available to the public, as does the School District and private entities, including Palo Alto Bowl.
This is glue that holds us together. I really don't care for bowling, but I attended numerous birthday parties at Palo Alto Bowl when my kids were age appropriate for such activity.
I worry that many programs that are provided through the City's Community Services Department are now at risk of getting cut or eliminated altogether, due the the current financial circumstances the City faces: declining revenue sources, actuarial expenses from retired employees, major infrastructure upgrades, and on going operational expenses.
So, to bring it back to the bowling alley, what's the City to do? The decision has been made, and the process seemed to be better than some other big projects of late. While it is a shame to lose the bowling alley, it appears that this approval to get a Hilton Hotel in town will help the revenue line, which in turn means that fewer programs run the risk of getting cut.
A Hilton Hotel is quite different from many of the other lower cost places that comb El Camino Real, it is more like the demised Hyatt Rickeys. It has the potential to attract travelers who are part of the Hilton affinity program, and those who travel here and are on the expense account.
I regret that Palo Alto Bowl is going away, and I hope that some of the revenue generating by this new hotel through the hotel taxes paid by patrons will keep alive other programs, mainly funded by City revenues, that otherwise would be cut or eliminated altogether.