Other Voices: Avoid Hillview delays, redesigns

With our current Hillview Community Center over 75 years old and literally falling down, and years of attempts to rebuild it, our 2017 Los Altos City Council (Jeannie Bruins, Lynette Lee Eng, Jean Mordo, Jan Pepper and Mary Prochnow) made a prudent decision to move forward with plans and a financial commitment to build a much-needed new community center.

With full community involvement, an 11-member citizen task force was convened and almost 50 council, commission and task force meetings were held for public input over an 18-plus-month time period. 

After a search for an expert architect and $2 million later, we have a design and plan ready to build a beautiful new community center.

Yet at the recent January council priority retreat, the entire process was called into question by two council members, and there appears to be an attempt to slow down or even kill the community center progress under the guise of oversight and hindsight.

Many issues have been raised, including “bang for the buck,” “future use,” “rethinking capacity.” While these may appear to be noble comments, the reality is that each of these issues were dealt with in-depth during the past 18-plus months by the task force and the architects.

The current design was created with a desire by the community to maximize indoor and outdoor space, and allow for future expandability (including a possible 10,000-square-foot footprint for future expansion toward the rear of the building for a city gym, child care, additional classrooms, etc.).

An early, two-story concept was rejected due to cost and neighborhood objections. Rather than rethinking the community center building design, it is time for the council to work on a master plan with a phased-in approach for the entire 18-plus-acre Hillview Civic Center/Community Center, which should include additional amenities for the community (expanded library, community pool, gym, rebuilt civic buildings, etc.).

On behalf of the residents who have waited for years for a new community center, we ask our city council to avoid senseless delays.

All questions were studied and answered, and the council passed the project last year. Now let’s move forward and build this beautiful new community center.

Nancy Bremeau is a Los Altos resident and former city council candidate.

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