Save Civic Park Position Letter

The City Council is currently meeting on revised proposals for the downtown library. … SaveCivicPark appeared before the council to read the following joint statement, also e-mailed to the mayor last night. … “Dear Councilmembers, We are encouraged with the direction the City is proceeding in planning for a new library, and we urge you to take immediate action on approving design of the project as proposed in recent community meetings. In a Feb. 13 meeting with City Manager Mike Parness, several of us were able to hear about the latest proposals and to give our input. In general we liked the fact that the City has seriously considered concerns about the impact of the library project on Civic Park and the problems inherent in a multi-story parking garage. (Those concerns are clearly overriding among residents who voted against Measure R in November, as evidenced by the recent survey results provided for the City by the Center for Community Opinion.) founder Adriel Hampton also recently met with representatives from the Library Foundation and Friends of the Library and with a representative of the No on R campaign. … Leading into the Council’s special Feb. 27 meeting on the library, we would like to join numerous community groups in expressing our support for a site plan that uses the existing library and parking footprint at Broadway and Lincoln to increase the size of the library and provide parking for the library and other park facilities. We support a design that includes modest surface and underground parking without a multi-level parking structure in the park. We support the project as laid out recently by City Manger Parness – an approximate 42,000-square-foot library with one level of underground parking and a smaller surface lot. Such a design would allow for an attractive setback from the street, a reduced encroachment into the park that allows for overall park enhancements, and a more reasonable cost of approximately $43.5 million dollars. While reducing the originally proposed parking and modifying the design will shave some $10 million off earlier cost estimates, we do not believe it would be wise to nickel and dime the project by cutting landscaping or other park amenities proposed as part of the library rebuild. … Most of our major concerns about the library project appear to have been removed from consideration: use of general obligation bonds, use of eminent domain on private property within Civic Park, and a multi-level parking structure. We ask that you please ensure that these elements are indeed incised from any approved library plan. … We appreciate the need for a large library to attract private funding and win state bond monies, and are open to limited coffee or concession sales as part of the Friends of the Library store within the new project. We like the plans for multiple library entrances and natural walkways as explained by Mr. Parness. … We hope that planning for the library encompasses the future of this winter’s successful downtown ice rink, and are pleased that the Sunday Farmers’ Market remains a priority for the City. Mr. Parness explained that the market may end up on Locust Street and that its managers are amiable to such a change. We are also happy that the modified proposal will spare more of the trees in the existing surface parking at Broadway and Lincoln. If the final approved plan includes more than 100 parking spots along with the library, we hope that you will consider mandating up to five spaces for a car-sharing program that could be used by city workers and nearby apartment and condominium residents. We also hope that the design will include enhanced service by the downtown shuttle and new signage to encourage more use of the City’s large Broadway Garage. … In summary, we hope to join you in supporting the state library bond on the June ballot; we support the use of parking reserves and modest increases in fees for metered and garage parking should other library construction revenues be needed; and we encourage you to take immediate action in moving forward with design and construction of the new downtown library.” … Signed, Walnut Creek residents: Adriel and Yuki Hampton; Robert and Christine Moore; Stanislaus Banach; Don and Debbie Nicks; Kevin Henry; David and Elizabeth Lingren; Larry Lucks; Richard Oblander; Megan David; Gregg Campbell and Helen Jiang

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