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Federal funds to help Palo Alto build museum, respond to mental health emergencies

Efforts to rehabilitate Roth Building, launch a Cahoots-style program for emergency response included in appropriation bills

The rehabilitation of the Roth Building at 300 Homer Ave. to create the Palo Alto Museum is among the projects that stand to benefit from federal funding. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber.

Palo Alto's plans to build a history museum and create a new program for responding to mental health emergencies received a boost from the federal government last week, with Rep. Anna Eshoo announcing that she was able to secure funding for both efforts in federal appropriation bills.

The projects are part of a $11.2 million package that Eshoo secured for District 18, which includes portions of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, including Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Woodside and Portola Valley. The bills have already cleared the relevant subcommittees in the House of Representatives, as well as the Appropriations Committee, and will soon be considered by the full House, according to Eshoo.

The allocations include $3 million for the rehabilitation of Roth Building at 300 Homer Ave., a city-owned building that was designed by architect Birge Clark and which is slated to be transformed into the Palo Alto Museum.

Also included in the federal package is $2 million in funding for Palo Alto, Mountain View and Los Altos for response services to mental health-related emergency calls. Eshoo said the funding will make sure these calls addressed with "the appropriate resources rather than law enforcement," according to Eshoo's announcement.

Provided that the full House approves the appropriations, the funding will advance two city efforts that have been picking up momentum in recent months. Palo Alto has been looking to build a museum at a renovated Roth Building for about 15 years, though the project has faltered because of lacking political support and inadequate funding. That changed last month, when the council approved an allocation of more than $4 million in impact fees for the renovation of the building, which is expected to cost about $10.5 million. The project is also benefitting from money obtained through sales of development rights and the museum's fundraising efforts.

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Three council members — Vice Mayor Pat Burt, Lydia Kou and Greer Stone — also issued a memo last month urging their colleagues to advance the project so that it can be completed within the next year and under an existing building permit.

"This project needs to move forward quickly to preserve this vulnerable historic building, take advantage of the existing permit, and move forward this construction season to avoid winter rains," the memo states.

The funding allocation for mental health emergencies will help the city and its neighbors develop a program modeled after Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (Cahoots) in Eugene, Oregon, which relies on public health professionals rather than police officers to respond to certain emergency calls.

The city is already partnering with Santa Clara County on the Community Mobile Response program, which is modeled after Cahoots but which the county initially planned to roll out only in east San Jose and in Gilroy. After Palo Alto lobbied to be included in the program, the county agreed to create a third site to serve north county, including Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara. The program is funded through a state "innovation grant."

Deputy City Manager Chantal Gaines said at a June 8 meeting of the council's Policy and Services Committee that the federal funding would be used to "create a Cahoots-like program or augment the county's program.

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"Though there are many steps to go and no certainty of receiving the funds, the City is proud to have made it this far in pursuing additional funds to complement any mental health alternative response program in North County and ensure adequate coverage of Palo Alto's needs," a report prepared by the City Manager's Office for that meeting states.

Eshoo also secured $2 million for Atherton for transportation improvements along the Alameda de las Pulgas corridor and $800,000 for Woodside to install bicycle and pedestrian amenities near Woodside High School.

"I'm proud to have secured this funding which will go directly to local education projects, efforts to mitigate traffic congestion, and plans to strengthen senior care and mental health services," Eshoo said in a statement.

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Federal funds to help Palo Alto build museum, respond to mental health emergencies

Efforts to rehabilitate Roth Building, launch a Cahoots-style program for emergency response included in appropriation bills

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Jul 19, 2021, 9:46 am

Palo Alto's plans to build a history museum and create a new program for responding to mental health emergencies received a boost from the federal government last week, with Rep. Anna Eshoo announcing that she was able to secure funding for both efforts in federal appropriation bills.

The projects are part of a $11.2 million package that Eshoo secured for District 18, which includes portions of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, including Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Woodside and Portola Valley. The bills have already cleared the relevant subcommittees in the House of Representatives, as well as the Appropriations Committee, and will soon be considered by the full House, according to Eshoo.

The allocations include $3 million for the rehabilitation of Roth Building at 300 Homer Ave., a city-owned building that was designed by architect Birge Clark and which is slated to be transformed into the Palo Alto Museum.

Also included in the federal package is $2 million in funding for Palo Alto, Mountain View and Los Altos for response services to mental health-related emergency calls. Eshoo said the funding will make sure these calls addressed with "the appropriate resources rather than law enforcement," according to Eshoo's announcement.

Provided that the full House approves the appropriations, the funding will advance two city efforts that have been picking up momentum in recent months. Palo Alto has been looking to build a museum at a renovated Roth Building for about 15 years, though the project has faltered because of lacking political support and inadequate funding. That changed last month, when the council approved an allocation of more than $4 million in impact fees for the renovation of the building, which is expected to cost about $10.5 million. The project is also benefitting from money obtained through sales of development rights and the museum's fundraising efforts.

Three council members — Vice Mayor Pat Burt, Lydia Kou and Greer Stone — also issued a memo last month urging their colleagues to advance the project so that it can be completed within the next year and under an existing building permit.

"This project needs to move forward quickly to preserve this vulnerable historic building, take advantage of the existing permit, and move forward this construction season to avoid winter rains," the memo states.

The funding allocation for mental health emergencies will help the city and its neighbors develop a program modeled after Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (Cahoots) in Eugene, Oregon, which relies on public health professionals rather than police officers to respond to certain emergency calls.

The city is already partnering with Santa Clara County on the Community Mobile Response program, which is modeled after Cahoots but which the county initially planned to roll out only in east San Jose and in Gilroy. After Palo Alto lobbied to be included in the program, the county agreed to create a third site to serve north county, including Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara. The program is funded through a state "innovation grant."

Deputy City Manager Chantal Gaines said at a June 8 meeting of the council's Policy and Services Committee that the federal funding would be used to "create a Cahoots-like program or augment the county's program.

"Though there are many steps to go and no certainty of receiving the funds, the City is proud to have made it this far in pursuing additional funds to complement any mental health alternative response program in North County and ensure adequate coverage of Palo Alto's needs," a report prepared by the City Manager's Office for that meeting states.

Eshoo also secured $2 million for Atherton for transportation improvements along the Alameda de las Pulgas corridor and $800,000 for Woodside to install bicycle and pedestrian amenities near Woodside High School.

"I'm proud to have secured this funding which will go directly to local education projects, efforts to mitigate traffic congestion, and plans to strengthen senior care and mental health services," Eshoo said in a statement.

Comments

commonsense
Registered user
Professorville
on Jul 19, 2021 at 10:32 am
commonsense, Professorville
Registered user
on Jul 19, 2021 at 10:32 am

Converting a rotting building the city has neglected for decades into a history museum, across the street from a history museum, is not a priority for this city. Furthermore, $3m is roughly $10m short of what is likely needed.


Richard
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jul 19, 2021 at 10:39 am
Richard, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jul 19, 2021 at 10:39 am

I'd put all the money into improving mental health services. Really, is Palo Alto so great that we need a museum? I doubt people for points distant, let alone for residents of the city, will visit this. Let's get over these delusions of grandeur and spend money on things that actually have value for citizens. If someone is really interested in the history of Palo Alto there are other resources that do not require a building.


Mama
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Jul 19, 2021 at 11:10 am
Mama, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Jul 19, 2021 at 11:10 am

The Computer History Museum does a terrific job on history of Silicon Valley, and Stanford has many sites for University history. Exactly what else needs to be covered re Palo Alto? Complete waste of OUR money siphoned off by taxes.


Roberta Prescott
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jul 19, 2021 at 11:41 am
Roberta Prescott, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jul 19, 2021 at 11:41 am

> Converting a rotting building the city has neglected for decades into a history museum, across the street from a history museum, is not a priority for this city.

> Really, is Palo Alto so great that we need a museum?

> Exactly what else needs to be covered re Palo Alto? Complete waste of OUR money siphoned off by taxes.

^ It's called 'civic pride' and some Palo Altans actually feel the need for their city to be recognized for its past accomplishments and significance.

No different than a typical Mayberry-mentality creating its own museum and hall of fame to acknowledge minor trivialities.

The Nuthouse gorilla will greet guests at the door to reaffirm this belief.


cmarg
Registered user
Palo Alto High School
on Jul 19, 2021 at 1:30 pm
cmarg, Palo Alto High School
Registered user
on Jul 19, 2021 at 1:30 pm

Please consider focusing more on mental health. It would be ideal if the building could actually be converted into a facility for mental health. In my opinion, there are 2 groups that need the mental health Services the most - the youth (12-22) and the elderly. I hope more can be done to help. In my opinion, we don't need a museum.


Liam J.
Registered user
another community
on Jul 19, 2021 at 3:39 pm
Liam J., another community
Registered user
on Jul 19, 2021 at 3:39 pm

> In my opinion, there are 2 groups that need the mental health Services the most - the youth (12-22) and the elderly.

And the homeless.


Curmudgeon
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jul 19, 2021 at 6:13 pm
Curmudgeon, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jul 19, 2021 at 6:13 pm

The egregiously uninformed comments here illustrate the critical need for a local history museum. We have a fine historical association, but no venue to educate from


PA Resident
Registered user
Midtown
on Jul 19, 2021 at 7:19 pm
PA Resident, Midtown
Registered user
on Jul 19, 2021 at 7:19 pm

Perhaps if the parents of this town would stop pressuring their children to be above and beyond over working them and stressing them out there wouldn't be so many mental health problems in the young people of this town.

A museum is a wonderful addition to this town. It would cover this city not just general themes like electrical and mechanical technology like MOAH does and general technological history like the computer museum.


Novelera
Registered user
Midtown
on Jul 20, 2021 at 7:43 pm
Novelera, Midtown
Registered user
on Jul 20, 2021 at 7:43 pm

I am thrilled money is now available for the Roth Building history museum. It's a lovely building. And the historical society has some really interesting exhibits. I've seen some of their photographs at the Midtown Residents Ice Cream Socials in years past.

And I am also put off by the nastiness shown by the majority of the commenters on this thread.


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