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Community Notebook: City gives public opportunity to offer ideas for Cubberley transformation plan

Stations will be set up for residents to examine housing options, construction timeline at Thursday meeting

Palo Alto residents will get another chance Thursday to offer their opinions on a new master plan to redevelop the sprawling Cubberley Community Center.

The city and its consultants will be holding the fourth and final community meeting on the proposed master plan at the Cubberley Pavilion between 7 and 9 p.m.

Unlike the last three meetings, which were more interactive with activities such as envisioning a new layout with building blocks and pads, Thursday's meeting will offer presentations about different options for the future Cubberley. Attendees will be able to visit six stations, each with a different focus varying from look and feel, housing options, phasing of construction and more.

The goal of the meeting is to put the finishing touches on a master plan, which the City Council and the Palo Alto Unified school board are set to approve by the end of the year.

The 35-acre campus, which was once home to a high school, is jointly owned by the city and Palo Alto school district. The city owns 8 acres and leases the remaining of center from the school district.

While the public will still have opportunities to provide input on the project during City Council and Board of Education meetings, but Thursday's meeting will be the best way residents can give feedback on the draft plan to the city's consultant, Palo Alto City Councilwoman Alison Cormack said.

Over the past seven months, residents have proposed diverse amenities for the 64-year-old campus, including a new health center, expanded art facilities, a swimming pool and space for a new school. They have also raised concerns such as traffic circulation and the most suitable architectural styles for the site.

"I've seen the difference it can make for our whole city, to have a modern facility that works for everyone," Cormack said.

Other changes included in the fourth draft presentation are a 9-foot-tall garage now, the pool moved to the center of the site, a two-way bike track and blocking cars coming in from San Antonio Road which would improve access from Middlefield Road.

New Orleans-based Concordia, an engagement and design firm, is helping run the co-design process.

"It's the end of one chapter and the beginning of another," said principal of Concordia Bobbie Hill.

Given enrollment uncertainty and other factors, the Palo Alto Unified's needs are less concrete at this point, but board members have emphasized the need to preserve the school district's future options at Cubberley.

According to Hill, a sequencing plan will be presented during Thursday's meeting to accommodate needs for Palo Alto or Gunn high schools to preserve those options.

She also noted that in the phasing process, programs will not be shut down during reconstruction but will be temporarily moved to different buildings.

So far, the consensus from residents has been that they want the center to be completely rebuilt rather than renovated — an endeavor that will take years and that will likely require voter approval.

The Board of Education and City Council are expected to review the draft master plan together in a joint meeting this summer, Hill said, adding that the plan is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.

"I'm looking forward to a modern, vibrant space that works for people of all ages," Cormack said.

The final co-design meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 9, 7-9 p.m. at Cubberley Community Center Pavilion, 4000 Middlefield Road. To RSVP to the event, visit eventbrite.com. The meeting will include translated materials in Spanish and Mandarin.

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Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on May 9, 2019 at 7:36 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

Speak now or forever hold your nose.


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