Keeping what matters | January 8, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - January 8, 2010

Keeping what matters

New partnerships, city vision needed to keep Palo Alto's community gathering places from redevelopment

by Sue Dremann

Palo Alto developer Roxy Rapp tried to save the Palo Alto Bowl.

This story contains 1898 words.

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Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be e-mailed at


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Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 8, 2010 at 9:17 am

The City has placed more of a priority on bringing more money into the City treasury, vs. protecting community treasures.

While we must respect the rights of private property owners, the City can direct some of the new and substantial tax revenue to replacing the recreational or gathering-space resource that was lost.

As a principle, if we take something away from the public, we should apply a portion of the revenue gain to replacing it.

...or does the City simply pocket the money for the general treasury to once again avoid fiscal discipline. The Council is not looking at the whole equation: if they really were concerned about the recreational loss, they would simply re-direct some of the new found fees and taxes to replacing the loss.

It is not too late: If there are people that still care about the loss of Palo Alto Bowl, let's organize and offer a project structure for a replacement -- even if on a smaller scale. We are the City.

Tim Gray 650 321-2020

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 8, 2010 at 10:02 am

"While we must respect the rights of private property owners..."

Agreed, but the city does have zoning authority. But all too often it blithely throws that leverage away, creating a patchwork of "Planned Community" zones that give developers exactly what they want in return for packages of "public benefits," which seldom materialize and which the city never tries to enforce. It's time to stop this farce while we have some community left in this town.

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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 8, 2010 at 10:06 am

Sorry, this article is a hodgepodge, comparing the closure of numerous Palo Alto businesses.. You compare the loss of single screen movie theaters with the closing of Bergmann's in Midtown, with the loss of Albertsons at Alma Plaza (and I think we know who is to blame for that!!). Then you talk about how JJ&F was saved--but then you say that it may have a negative impact on the city!!! Bottom line, each event must considered individually and in the context of what led up to it's closure. Some people in Palo Alto are too busy living in the past--times change, stores change--there is a natural turnover.
Anyway, wasn't there some guy in Mountain View who was trying to save the Palo Alto Bowl? What happened with that?

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2010 at 10:24 am

There is a difference between trying to save a recreational amenity to saving something like a store in midtown. There is even a difference from saving an anchor store in a neighborhood plaza.

Ten years or so, midtown was a shambles and there are still signs of that. But, something happened and it is now vibrant and healthy. Edgewood and Alma Plazas could both do that.

The PA Bowl is in a different category. It is a shame that it could not have been sold as a going concern. It is a shame that some enterprise could not have seen its potential as a recreational center, perhaps putting in more recreational facilities, and turning it into another thriving center.

I would love to see more recreational activities for the kids in Palo Alto - and not just the kids. The things kids love, lazerquest, sky high trampolines, crazy golf, (to name but a few) are all outside Palo Alto and parents generally have to drive them there. We should have more for our growing population of kids to do in Palo Alto, not less.

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Posted by Thanks for nothing
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 8, 2010 at 11:35 am

"Palo Alto developer Roxy Rapp tried to save the Palo Alto Bowl" because he had a personal interest in it.
Maybe he was trying to change the focus from the barren, sterile Lytton Plaza that he spearheaded and now wants to change its name. Thanks for nothing, Roxy.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.