Saturday, October 20, 2012

Our Letter in the Sunnyvale Sun

Following is the text of our letter submitted to the editor and published in the Oct. 19, 2012 edition of the Sunnyvale Sun:

( Permanent link to this page for future reference: )

------------- begin Letter to the Editor ----------

The Sunnyvale city council voted July 31, 2012 to consider a proposal to sell/lease 14 acres of wooded public buildings (including the library) of the Civic Center for commercial and residential development.  24 acres at this site are city-owned.  The area is bounded by El Camino Real, Mathilda Ave., Pastoria Ave. and Iowa Ave.  It is  the site of the present-day library, city hall, public safety dept., etc which would all be demolished to make way for commercial and housing development.  The area to be sold/leased would include the entire side facing El Camino and most of the sides on Mathilda and Pastoria leaving a shrunken little remnant in the center.
The idea is to raise money for a new library to be built at the Community Center on Remington, and a new city hall and public safety building. Developers have already been contacted and expressed interest.

We are in profound disagreement with the city council on this.  This is a very beautiful piece of land with over 80 half-century old, very tall, majestic redwoods and Canary Island pines.  There is a park-like area at the corner of El Camino Real and Mathilda with a walkway winding through these trees.  There are approximately 200 trees including magnolia, tulip, gingko and Chinese pistache.  Is there such a shortage of space for coffee shops, and boutiques elsewhere that we have to sell off these old trees and gardens to make room?

Parks and green spaces provide us with a quality of life which is becoming increasingly important and rare.  Trees are important in not just giving us tranquility, peace and a connection to nature but they also supply us with cleaner air and the very oxygen we breathe.  These trees would not survive commercial construction along El Camino Real.  We need to preserve this area and these wonderful trees for future generations.  This year the city has already decided to sell the Raynor Park Buildings (May 2012) and Murphy Park expansion spaces (August 2012) and now they are thinking of selling the Civic Center.

We question why our current library should be demolished.  There is a need for one or more branch libraries in Sunnyvale to provide reading and study areas closer to where people live. In that same July 31 meeting the library staff expressed preference for a branch library built at Lakewood to better serve the people of North Sunnyvale. We should listen to the professionals we employ to bring libraries to the people rather than destroying what we have to build monuments to political hubris.  Look at the downtown area to see where grandiose plans can lead!

There is a basement in the current library which could provide additional needed space or an addition could be considered.  Several communities across the US have joint school-public libraries for students to study and read after school and on weekends near their homes.  Santa Clara has a smaller area, and a smaller population yet they have two libraries and are building a third while we have only the one.

We have formed an initiative to inform the citizens of Sunnyvale of these plans.  The name of the initiative is Citizens for Parks and Green Spaces.  View our blog: Join the discussion at To show support, please e-mail us at so we can keep the city council informed of the number of residents in opposition to these plans.

Help us save Sunnyvale’s heritage for future generations.

Deborah Marks
Michael Goldman
Citizens for Sunnyvale Parks and Green Spaces

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