The Los Altos City Council last week took the initial step in a 10-month effort to update the city’s 2009 Civic Center Master Plan by hosting a public review of the document.
The nearly three-hour session was a standing-room-only affair that included a 45-minute presentation of the plan by Anderson Brulé Architects, hired to conduct the 2009 master plan process and the city’s current update. The review included a question-and-answer session with the public that addressed the motivations and processes behind the city’s plan.
Two members of the Los Altos Community Pool Foundation encouraged the council to reconsider a public pool facility as part of a new community center.
“We want to make sure a pool is a part of this project,” Los Altos resident and foundation member Kamrin Knight Desmond said.
As previously reported by the Town Crier, the city council last month approved a consulting contract with Anderson Brulé of up to $184,000. In addition, it green-lighted a 10-month schedule to update the five-year-old master plan with the specific goal of replacing the aging Hillview Community Center with a new multiuse, multigenerational facility. The council’s decision resulted from a 2012 survey of residents that revealed insufficient support for a $65 million bond measure needed to fund a larger first phase of the 2009 master plan. That phase included the construction of new city hall, Los Altos Police Station and community center facilities.
An email to Mayor Megan Satterlee seeking comment was not returned by the Town Crier’s press deadline. Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins, however, called the session a “starting point for moving forward” with a new plan following the 2012 survey results. She added that the city expects more opportunities to gather resident input at future meetings, including workshops later this year that will delve into community center programming needs and facility concepts.
“It is what we expected,” Bruins said of the first step, while noting that the city is placing a large focus on soliciting community feedback throughout the 10-month timeline. “What we hope for going forward is that the community’s engagement continues to ramp up.”
She noted that the review was an important initial step because it allowed all involved parties – including the public – to begin the process on the same page. She included herself and Councilwoman Jan Pepper, who were not on the council when the 2009 plan was approved.
“(The Feb. 4 review) was about, ‘Let’s make sure we’re all on the same starting line … in going back (and reviewing the 2009 plan),” Bruins said. “It helps reset everyone and remind them why we’re doing this.”
She later added, “This is setting the stage so that now we can work in an open way to move quickly and hopefully fast-track a plan for a new community center.”
To view the 2009 Civic Center Master Plan, visit losaltosca.gov.