Reasons new library should move downtown
Seven reasons the new modern Los Altos/Los Altos Hills library should be built in the downtown triangle:
1. Building it on Parking Plaza 8 or 3 would replace our deficient library structure sooner.
2. Vibrancy in town would increase, in an intellectual and social way, as 1,300-1,500 adults and children visit and hang out at the library daily and into the evening.
3. A well-designed community room (with convertible theater seating) would offer more evening intellectual programs and movie nights for youth and adults.
4. A large, well-landscaped plaza in front of the library could deliver all the positives of the Downtown Green, permanently, while eliminating the negative economic impact.
5. A parking structure could be built, in conjunction with the library, so that it would not be visible to sidewalk traffic.
6. The present library could accommodate the new senior center.
7. The city could reverse its decision to remove the nonprofit Children’s Corner, after 35 years serving young families (a real Los Altos asset), from the civic center for lack of space.
Finally, a well-designed structure would also deliver a lovely locale for peaceful reflection – the Packard Foundation is a good example.
Don’t be quick to take offense
Regarding the letter “Reader schools columnist on accuracy, sensitivity” (Sept. 20): Lighten up, Debbie.
Frank Hughes didn’t write “about the children of our town.” And he didn’t write about the school per se. He was riffing on the name of the school, School for Independent Learners, which he found to be self-contradictory. (I had the same impression when we were considering enrolling our daughter there.) And yes, his piece was meant to be pure fiction, a flight of imagination.
In this divisive time, we’re all too quick to take offense at real or imagined slights. I think we’d be better off if, faced with such a situation, we were to slow down, take a deep breath and ask ourselves, “Does this really matter?”
John W. Semion
Let’s not waste opportunity for park
As someone who was at the Sept. 13 Parks and Recreation Commission meeting for the presentation regarding the First Street Green – the 22,000-square-foot (1/2-acre) public plaza/park – I was astonished by a few things that occurred.
First and most surprising of all, there was a long and contentious discussion among the commissioners and a motion to deny the publicly noticed presentation. I was beyond surprised to hear three commissioners propose to not even hear the presentation.
The process that brought the First Street Green plaza to the recent Parks and Recreation Commission meeting has been one of the most open, honest and transparent ever. The commission has been given additional opportunities to weigh in regarding the plaza/park at several junctures, including an earlier study session and public hearing. Once the entire project is approved it will come back to the Parks and Recreation Commission again to work on specific areas within the commission’s purview.
I understand that change brings with it fear – for some people. Like all new and exciting opportunities, fear is usually the first emotion. The strident voices and opposition to the project seem to come from a place of fear and misinformation.
What Los Altos Community Investments is proposing with the First Street Green is the first major public/private partnership, worth at least $15 million to $20 million to this town – money Los Altos would never spend to build a new downtown plaza/park for all of us to enjoy, yet a philanthropic resident is willing to do it.
The plaza as proposed will include an outdoor stage, a cafe, bicycle amenities, a children’s play area, public restrooms, movable seating and public art. It will provide a gathering space we don’t currently have anywhere in our downtown.
Will we waste the opportunity? Most likely yes, if the same group of naysayers who have killed every other major improvement and opportunity for this town have their way.
Sometimes people make a life out of tearing things down. I’d like to make my life about making my community a stronger and better place to live.