Proposed new Belle Haven community center and library
On December 16, 2019, Facebook submitted its proposal for exploring the funding and development of a new multi-generational community center and library at the current Onetta Harris Community Center, Menlo Park Senior Center and Belle Haven Youth Center (child care), near Kelly Park. City staff is now developing the potential project timeline, milestones and recommendations for the City Council.
On January 11, 2020, a community meeting was held at the Menlo Park Senior Center to introduce the project and report on due diligence work that had been completed to date. Hart Howerton, the project architect, presented on potential concepts that would be a part of the proposed new facility.
On January 14, 2020, the City Council received an informational item staff report that included Facebook's offer and outlined staff work needed to prepare the next report to the City Council on January 28, 2020.
On January 24, 2020, the City Council ad hoc subcommittee held a community meeting at the Menlo Park Senior Center to preview the action item report that will be presented to the City Council on January 28, 2020.
On January 28, 2020, the City Council voted 4-0 (Vice Mayor Combs recused) to approve the resolution of intent to collaborate with Facebook and the community on the project, including the 10 action item points in the resolution, and requested the City Council subcommittee (Mayor Taylor and Councilmember Carlton) develop the naming process timeline for the facility as soon as possible.
On February 9, 2020, a second community meeting was held to review the public comments from the Jan. 11 meeting, the project constraints, timeline and next steps. In addition, small group discussions offered participants an opportunity to prioritize and share their ideas for the different parts of the new facility: senior center, fitness center, meeting and classrooms, youth center (child care), library and pool.
On February 25, 2020, the City Council took action to appropriate $1 million for interim services and agreed to call special meetings with 24-hour notice to approve contracts above $75,000 for related services, as needed.
On April 21, 2020, the City Council considered next steps on the project, and approved the following: virtual meetings for community engagement, Planning Commission and City Council over the next three months leading to City Council consideration of project approval and an agreement with Facebook. There was also approval for relocating interim senior and recreation services to the Civic Center Campus at Burgess Park and exploring a partnership with Beechwood School for the after school child care program during construction.
On July 28, 2020, the City Council received an informational item on the project providing updates to the timeline for construction and impacts to interim services affecting senior services, recreation classes and after school child care at the existing site. It also referenced a separate report to the City Council on July 28 about the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) budget, including base-level funding for the project.
September 10, 2020, the City Council Subcommittee hosted a telephone town hall event to reintroduce the public to this City Council priority project. The discussion included the updated project timeline, a question and answer period for callers, and a preview of the September 15, 2020, City Council meeting.