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Jan 27

City Council considers proposed new Belle Haven community center and library Jan. 28

Posted on January 27, 2020 at 7:29 pm by Clay Curtin

On December 16, 2019, Facebook submitted its written 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, near Kelly Park. The City of Menlo Park issued a press release on December 19, 2019, acknowledging Facebook's generous offer and outlining the process for consideration by the City Council. City staff immediately began work to develop a 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. Attendees asked questions and provided feedback on several concept boards, renderings and a small model that was displayed. The community meeting notes and feedback received, as well as the presentation slides, are available on the project page on the city website at

In addition, many questions were raised during the community meeting about the naming of the new facility. Up to this point, there has been no discussion on the part of the City or Facebook about naming of the facility. At the meeting, the City Manager announced, as is the case with all city facilities, the naming is ultimately up to the City Council. 

On January 14, 2020, the City Council received an informational item staff report that included a recap of Facebook's offer and outlined the staff work needed to prepare the next report to the City Council on January 28, 2020. During public comment on the item, several people spoke about naming of the facility. A representative from Facebook spoke to confirm that any discussion of naming will be up to the City and the community. Mayor Taylor assured the public that the community will be part of the naming process. You can view a clip of the City Council meeting video on the project page.

The City Council appointed an ad hoc subcommittee of Mayor Cecilia Taylor and Councilmember Catherine Carlton to review staff analysis and preliminary recommendations for City Council consideration. The Subcommittee held a public meeting January 24, 2020, at the Menlo Park Senior Center, and heard additional public input on the project and the importance of interim services. You can listen to the subcommittee meeting audio recording on the project page.

On January 28, 2020, the City Council will consider an action item staff report that is expected to include items related to project prioritization, community engagement, interim services and more. The January 28, 2020, City Council meeting staff report is available for public review. You can watch the live streaming video of the meeting after 7 p.m., January 28, 2020.

Additionally, a second community meeting is planned for Sunday, February 9, 2020, from 3–5 p.m. at the Menlo Park Senior Center, 110 Terminal Ave. 

Additional information on the project is available on the city website at