LACI Solicits Feedback On Park

Posted on November 11, 2016 by  
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laci-open-houseLos Altos Community Investments (LACI) held an open house Nov. 2 to discuss its planned green space on First Street in downtown Los Altos.  According to Sares Regis, a developer working with LACI, 95 people stopped by to share input with designers and developers, snack on appetizers and informally vote on amenities they would like to see in the proposed half-acre park.

LACI displayed several boards featuring different descriptors for the park, which would cover the portion of Parking Plaza North that fronts First Street. They asked questions such as “What character would you like to see in the Green?” or “What passive amenities would you like to see in the Green?” with options listed including “outdoor living room,” “dog walk” and “charging stations and Wi-Fi.”

“I used up all but six of my stickers,” said Los Altos resident Harry Guy of LACI’s voting process.  The retired engineer and lead emergency preparedness volunteer said he was excited to see that the plans promised something a bit more than a communal lawn. “We don’t need a bunch of grass, because of the water (consumption),” said Guy, expressing optimism that landscape architects Joni L. Janecki & Associates would install something more drought-resistant.

Janecki & Associates designed the David and Lucile Packard Foundation grounds and De Anza College’s sunken garden. Brad Jacobson of EHDD architects is another veteran of the Packard Foundation project on Second Street. “Residents were open to solutions that help solve problems the town has,” Jacobson said of the Packard Foundation headquarters. “There was a way to bridge the charm … with a forward-looking aesthetic. It’s not either-or. There’s a lot to learn from both sides.”

Many Los Altos residents were enthusiastic about the potential project. Ron Labetich, a longtime real estate broker in the city, dubbed the park a “great idea.” Maddy McBirney, a member of the Los Altos Public Arts Commission, said, it was “awesome.” McBirney added that she thought it was an inspiration for some of Los Altos’ other underused spaces, like the Veterans Community Plaza.

Others were skeptical about how the park could change the existing fabric of Los Altos. Guy, who was excited about the park itself, was more nervous about the changing face of First Street – particularly the old home now containing Bumble. It was the residence of Los Altos’ first librarian and is seen by many Los Altos residents, like Guy, as a landmark.

 

Kelly Snider, managing director of LACI, said all critiques are being taken into account. “We are just beginning to consider the size and design of the proposed park, the types of features and elements the park could contain, and the type of programming it could host,” she said. “We are seeking input from everyone in the community and are happy to meet and discuss with anyone who is interested.”

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Stabilizing Redwood Grove Preserve

Posted on August 30, 2015 by  
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Redwood Grove CreekRedwood Grove Nature Preserve is getting spruced up this week.

The Los Altos City Council July 28 budgeted $525,600 for a creek rehabilitation project and renovation of a trail stairway in the park. Work began Monday and is scheduled to wrap up in late October. The park will remain open during construction, but the park’s boardwalk, creek and pedestrian bridge will be closed in the areas undergoing upgrades.

The city’s park-in-lieu fund will cover a large chunk of project expenses, with a boost from a $90,000 grant from the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s Clean, Safe Creeks and Natural Flood Protection program.

The nonprofit agency Acterra will support the work by revegetating areas disturbed during construction with native plants grown from seeds and cuttings collected from the Adobe Creek watershed.

Granite Rock Company will complete the restoration work. A crew will repair and improve a severely eroded 30-foot section along Adobe Creek and replace the existing footbridge upstream of the erosion site and the 560 feet of boardwalk around the area. To prevent further hillside erosion, they will replace the ridge trail stairway access on the western slope of the grove.

 

Special Projects Manager Dave Brees said the staircase would also help focus travel up and down the hillside – minimizing erosion and destabilizing random use. “This is a well-loved, well-used park,” Brees told the Town Crier last week. “This is a really exciting project. The hillside erosion control is pretty cutting edge.”

Crews will use root wads, the trunks of dead trees with the roots attached and soil removed so that the roots are exposed. As a mitigation material, repurposed root wads offer immediate stabilization and long-term benefits for the creek – they provide toe support for bank revegetation and collect sediment and debris that enhance the bank structure over time.

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A Bit Of History – Redwood Grove

Posted on August 18, 2011 by  
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While the City of Los Altos was incorporated in 1952, it’s history goes back much father.  Out of all the park in Los Altos, one of the most tranquil is Redwood Grove.  There is a back story for each gem treasured by the community.

Recently, an article was written by L.A. Chung, editor for Los Altos Patch, about this truly special place. Below, is an slightly edited version.  Enjoy …

In the beginning, Redwood Grove was not a redwood grove at all.

It was, as Berkeley resident Katherine Buss tells it, a spot “with a creek and one redwood tree,” a small house shaded by live oak trees, on about six acres.

How it became a redwood grove is a story Buss likes to share. It’s one of many stories about the special place her grandmother, Emma Wright Halsey, cultivated.

Buss is making a point to go, because the meeting is one where Redwood Grove’s future as a park is being shaped, one with a historic house that is deteriorating.

“I ran across an article online saying they were considering whether to restore or demolish it, and I thought, ‘Maybe they don’t know about the history of the occupants,'” Buss said.

Emma Wright Halsey purposefully planted the coastal redwood grove, Buss said, sapling by sapling, brought in by the truckload from her grandparent’s original property in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Redwood Grove is the place where her mother, Eugenia Halsey Buss, and uncle, Theodore Vail Halsey Jr., grew up with so many happy memories. And it is the place where her mother took family members from time to time, after the city of Los Altos made it a public park.

After the city purchased the property and it was used for summer day camps, her mother periodically took Buss and other relatives to revisit the rooms where they lived and where Emma Halsey had tended her rhododendrons and water lilies. Her mother told story after story of the old days.

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