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S E C T I O N 2 March 9, 2011 ■ Stories about people and events in A LSO INSIDE R E A L E S TAT E 21 |C the community. LA SSI F I E D S 24 Dreaming the uture Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac To boldly go where Menlo Park has never gone before By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer “T his is just dream world stuff,” Matt Henry said as he sat watching the cafeteria at Facebook’s new home hum with more activity than the room had seen in the months since Oracle began leaving the 10 Network Circle campus in Menlo Park. But 174 architects, students, designers, and dreamers huddled around tables, drawing with colored pencils and iPads, turning figments of the imagination into visions of what the Belle Haven and Willow business area could become. By the end of the 12-hour design “charrette” on March 5, those visions started to seem like real possibilities. Mr. Henry, representing the Belle Haven Neighborhood Association, carried his community’s dreams to the charrette. He presented a list of nine wishes, complete with color depictions and photographs, to the architects. Some wishes were small, such as creating a shaded area for seniors by covering the patio at the Onetta Harris Community Center. Other wishes were larger. Take Chilco Street. If any Menlo Park street looks like a back-alley wasteland, it’s Chilco. In the minds of the neighborhood association, it becomes a boulevard lined by trees. Then there were big wishes, like a library adjacent to the Belle Haven community school, open the same hours as the main city library. The current school library is only open during school hours, Mr. Henry said. With a nod at a flier advertising the charrette, he observed, “This is a joke if education doesn’t get uplifted in our community.” Along those lines, he proposed a Facebook visitors’ center, open on weekends, to give the community’s children a place to learn more about technology. Mingling community with business dominated the planning during Saturday’s event, as shown in the presentations at the day’s end. Mayor Rich Cline, Vice Mayor Kirsten Keith, and Councilwoman Kelly Fergusson watched with dozens of residents as each design team offered 8-foot-by-4 -foot posters displaying visions shaped from community input In the photo above, the yellow team mounts design concepts for Belle Haven on boards during the last hour of the charrette held at Facebook’s new home in Menlo Park on Saturday, March 5. On the cover, green team members add color to the intersection of Willow Road and Bayfront Expressway. Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac. throughout the day. Going green The green team focused on the intersection of Willow Road and Bayfront Expressway. “It’s a pretty unfriendly face to present to the world,” said team leader Susan Eschweiler. The group suggested winding bicycle and pedestrian paths through gardens of native plants, with neighborhood retail — “instead of drive-by retail” — as a destination point near the Facebook campus. In sketches, rooftop gardens planted on podiums with parking underneath doubled as meeting areas as well as vegetable plots Continued on page 19 March 9, 2011 N The Almanac N17

The Almanac 03.09.2011 - Section 2

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