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Palo Alto holds community meeting on improvements to Baylands Interpretive Center

Tonight's meeting will focus on aging facilities

The City of Palo Alto will hold a community meeting on Wednesday evening, Sept. 30, on plans to improve the Lucy Evans Baylands Interpretive Center and boardwalk.

The meeting, which is hosted by the Public Works and Community Services departments, is open to the public and will take place 6-8 p.m. at the interpretive center, 2775 Embarcadero Road.

The Baylands Interpretive Center and Baylands Preserve serve approximately 80,000 visitors annually, including 129 classes and camps and 3,000 elementary school students. More visitors have come to the Baylands and the center since the opening of the adjacent Sea Scout building operated by the nonprofit group Environmental Volunteers, according to a city report.

The $582,485 interpretive center renovations would replace decking, railings, structural framing, wood siding, flooring, cabinetry and doors. The interior exhibits, which are currently considered worn out or non-functioning, would include new signs and graphics to make the center more visible and improvements to make the facility more usable for science programs, public use and facility rentals. That project has $56,000 in funding.

A feasibility study for boardwalk improvements is currently under way and is to be completed this fall. The plank boardwalk, long a popular feature for visitors, juts out into the marshland and allows visitors to have intimate views of the flora and fauna. The boardwalk is currently closed due to disrepair.

The interpretive center facility design will be completed in spring 2016 with construction scheduled to begin in summer 2016. Project completion is expected in fall 2016.

Work on the interpretive center's exhibit improvements is expected to begin in summer 2016, following approval of the design for the center and boardwalk by the Palo Alto City Council, with completion expected by summer 2017, according to city documents.

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