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Editorial: Finish El Camino Park

Original post made on Apr 26, 2013

Palo Alto's Parks and Recreation Commission was right earlier this week when it urged the city staff and City Council to drop the idea of relocating the historic MacArthur Park restaurant building from its current location to somewhere in the park.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 26, 2013, 9:31 AM

Comments (9)

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Posted by a Palo Alto resident
a resident of University South
on Apr 26, 2013 at 10:43 am

Good editorial on finishing El Camino Park! And why doesn't someone point out that it's not a good place for a dog park because North Palo Alto residents would have to cross the tracks to get there? It's not convenient to residences.

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Posted by tired of this
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2013 at 11:30 am

This editorial is spot on.

Why does the city let developers set the agenda? Zoning, citizens needs, past plans, get thrown out the window as soon as the newest mega-project shows up.

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Posted by Rresident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2013 at 12:12 pm

If Arrilliaga wants to build on the site of the former "Hostess House" let him be responsible for finding a suitable location and relocating the historic building, otherwise leave it where it is and have him relocated his grandiose project.

The "Hostess House" is a historic building and must go somewhere. Let Arrilliaga worry about it and pay for the relocation to wherever he finds a suitable site. How about the backside of Town and Country Village facing Enicina Street. That parking lot is never full.

Forget about El Camino Park, that is NOT a suitable location.

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Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 26, 2013 at 12:13 pm

"Why does the city let developers set the agenda?"

Read the campaign contribution reports at the City Clerk's office. You get what you pay for.

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Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 26, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Yep, they know the city council has its price.

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Posted by Lousy Idea
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 26, 2013 at 4:01 pm

It was a lousy idea from the start, and Mr Arrilaga has too much power in PA and MP, even for a billionaire!

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Two temporary libraries and an unfinished park!

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Posted by Katie
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 26, 2013 at 8:24 pm

I can't wait to see the next monstrocity....the Newell Library remodel.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 27, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Posted on another thread:

Here's an idea:

Move Hostess House to the orchard at Maybell/Clemo, currently in a contentious rezoning battle where neighbors have serious safety concerns about density at that (current "low-density" location), and make it a community orchard.

Wait, hear me out.

We have the problem of where to put historic Hostess House. It's a problem for the Arrillaga development and must be relocated.

The lot in question is a beautiful open orchard with some 100 year old oaks across from Juana Briones Park. What if someone were to perhaps convince Arrillaga to buy the property from PAHC -- perhaps purchase price plus a few hundred thousand more for their trouble -- then to pay for it, put up houses in keeping with the neighborhood and zoning on the north (El Camino) end of the lot, parallel with El Camino, with a lane and driveways facing north and the houses facing the park? Six new homes for $2+ million each. The houses on Maybell come down, and Maybell (which is too narrow there) widened with a sidewalk.

With the 1.5 acres left, the Hostess house gets located there, and it becomes a community center again, garden, and orchard, across from Juana Briones Park. Note that the Veterans Hospital is behind this neighborhood and not that far a drive or walk on the bike path. Arrillago donates the 1.5 acres to Parks and Rec and writes off $9million.

It would be accessible to the neighborhood, 4 schools within a few blocks -- as well as the low-income senior housing PAHC is building right now just across El Camino. It could be a place for neighbors to gather once again.


Maybe instead of buying the property from PAHC, he could swap for land nearer Stanford where seniors would be near to services they actually don't have to drive to. It's possible some of the existing homes on Maybell could remain in such a plan, even making money for the developer while providing a place for Hostess House in a way that would be welcomed by the local community.

There are always logistical hurdles for anything, but it solves a lot of problems for everyone, for Arrillaga, the City, and most of all, the issue of that orchard not adding to the safety/traffic issues for THAT LOCATION in Greenacres (which only has already-congested safe routes to school in and out of the neighborhood), and preserving open space in an increasingly congested end of town.

And, the neighbors are organizing for a fight over the high-density rezoning, they could organize in support of something like this!

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