The Los Altos City Council took the following actions at its July 9 meeting.
Civic center options on the docket in August
The council will likely kick off discussions in August on redeveloping or replacing some of the city’s aging civic center facilities.
According to Los Altos City Manager Marcia Somers, the council is expected to begin an “ongoing conversation” regarding alternative civic center redevelopment options – including associated costs and potential tradeoffs – at an Aug. 13 study session.
In March, the council agreed to reassess portions of the city’s Civic Center Master Plan, calling for a study session in the summer to further review various feasible scenarios.
At the time, a city staff report presented the council with three options: (1) Move forward with the originally approved four-phase master plan as is; (2) include the renovation and expansion of the police station and city hall at their current locations, plus the demolition and replacement of the community center; or (3) only renovate and expand the three areas.
The council opted to examine alternatives after the city originally sought a $65 million bond measure on the November 2012 ballot to fund 80 percent of the Civic Center Master Plan’s first phase. The previous council withdrew plans for the measure after a survey of residents revealed less support than needed to achieve a two-thirds vote.
Somers noted that the August discussion is one of many the council will have on potential civic center redevelopment options in the near future.
“I really do believe this will be an ongoing discussion with the council, because this is a really signature project for them,” said Somers, who added that initial discussions will include providing background into the city’s 2008 Civic Center Master Plan process for new councilwomen Jeannie Bruins and Jan Pepper.
Among the most important elements that will be discussed, noted Somers, is the direction the city council should take in replacing or redeveloping Hillview Community Center.
“That’s the element that’s probably most important to the council,” she said, adding that the city ultimately has to “move forward because the facility has some real deficiencies.”
Council approves new sculpture installations
The council unanimously approved the installation of sculptures at Lincoln Park and the corner of State and Fourth streets.
According to a city staff report, the bronze and stainless-steel sculpture “The Bird,” by Santa Rosa artist Riis Burwell, is slated for installation at Lincoln Park, across from the Safeway construction site. The 11-foot-high sculpture, valued at $55,000, is “an homage” to jazz musician Charlie Parker, according to Burwell.
“The Guardian,” a 6-foot-tall cast bronze sculpture, will be installed at State and Fourth streets in a landscaped area next to the Costume Bank. The $59,000 sculpture by New Orleans-based artist Karen Cauvin Eustis will be on loan to the city for five years (as opposed to the standard two-year period). It was previously slated for installation in Waveland, Miss., on the same day Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city’s beachfront.
The two art pieces were among the winning entries in the city’s 10th Competitive Sculpture Search in 2012, coordinated by the Public Arts Commission. Each artist will receive a $1,000 stipend from the city for the loaned sculptures.
– Diego Abeloos