Simply groundbreaking: Ceremony marks the next phase of the journey to new digs

Hillview Community Center Groundbreaking” width=
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council gets into the celebratory spirit of the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Los Altos Community Center Oct. 8.

The Los Altos City Council, city staff and local residents involved in the planning of the new Los Altos Community Center gathered Tuesday (Oct. 8) to celebrate the groundbreaking of the $38 million project. 

With the old Hillview Community Center blocked off by Los Altos Police Department patrol cars and a tractor as the ceremony's backdrop, local leaders noted the work devoted to getting to this point as well as efforts that will continue through December 2020, the center’s anticipated completion date.

Mayor Lynette Lee Eng, left, spoke first about her and the council’s excitement that demolition of Hillview will begin "shortly" to make way for the new center. The structure that will be put in its place will be a gathering space for all generations of the Los Altos community, Lee Eng said before finishing her remarks with a round of thanks.

Claudia Coleman, chairwoman of the new center's community task force, explained the lengthy process behind the input given to the architects and city officials, including visits to other community centers throughout the county and brainstorming on local buildings the center could be modeled after, like the Packard Foundation headquarters at 343 Second St.

Coleman acknowledged several former members of the Los Altos city staff, including city clerk J Logan, engineering services manager Chris Lamm, planning services manager Zach Dahl, city spokeswoman and Erica Ray, who attended the event on her final day with the city.

Both the lead project manager for the project, city staff member Peter Maslow, and Nova Partners construction manager David Marks emphasized the importance of connecting the community and collaborating through the project.

"A lot of heavy lifting has been done over the last several years, and now the rubber hits the road," Marks said. "Talk about a couple of key tools: teamwork, trust, partnership, hard work, accountability and friendship. We've been doing this for a little bit over 25 years now. What we've found is that if we can bring those terms to our projects, and create a harmony, chemistry, an environment where people really want to succeed, the projects can be fabulous."

Once the seven speakers had their time at the podium, council members put on hard hats and grabbed shovels, a ceremonial toss of dirt generating laughter and big smiles. Former mayors in attendance — Mary Prochnow, Roy and Penny Lave, and Dave Reeder — also participated.

For more photos of the event and additional details, pick up a copy of next week's paper.

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