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Menlo Park: Silicon Valley's Retirement Community?

Or a town ready for a cultural revival? Chime in on the conversation by commenting on Sramana Mitra's positions.

Over the last few weeks, the topic of Menlo Park’s revival has been hotly debated at city hall meetings. I have also moderated a discussion on my blog that has brought to surface a number of issues.

These discussions are healthy, and worth conducting.

In fact, anyone else who has a point of view of the subject is more than welcome to use the blog series Menlo Park Renaissance to share it.

Meanwhile, I wanted to synthesize a few points that I see as important.

First, Menlo Park, for many, has inadvertently come to be viewed as the retirement community of Silicon Valley. Young people are largely voting with their feet by leaving this city in favor of Palo Alto and San Francisco, and .

We NEED to do something about it.

Second, there is a lot of misunderstanding about the – what it is and isn’t. It is my understanding that the plan is simply trying to establish a re- zoning based upon which actual development proposals can be evaluated.

Many of the city’s residents are unnecessarily hung up on the issue of , for example, a detail that I believe the city planners will eliminate based on feedback received. However, the rezoning is necessary so that developers can be invited to come up with specific proposals.

Third, any kind of significant revival of the city will introduce density into the downtown environment. This is desirable, otherwise we won’t be able to attract quality merchants or other cultural experiences the city wants to – perks that young and old alike would then be able to enjoy.

Fourth, into the city creates a significant revenue and revival opportunity ahead. This opportunity needs to be leveraged, not missed.

I have personally spoken with numerous people on the subject at this point – young, old, families, professionals, entrepreneurs, merchants, architects, developers and the city council members. Much of my thoughts based on those discussions and related research are captured in this blog series titled Menlo Park Renaissance.

I strongly believe that the time for this Renaissance has arrived.

Let us not squander the opportunity.

Let us design a city that we can all be proud of and enjoy. A beautiful, sophisticated, greenery-filled, culturally vibrant, stylish city in which people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds live in harmony.

Area Man September 27, 2011 at 04:59 PM
Young people are leaving because they can't afford to live here. There is barely any available or affordable rental housing in Menlo Park.
Sramana Mitra September 27, 2011 at 07:10 PM
You are absolutely right. The city needs an infusion of quality rental housing so that young people can afford to live here.

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