City Council Reached Major Milestone in Millbrae Community Center Rebuild
On Tuesday night, the Millbrae City Council reached a major milestone by unanimously supporting the restoration of vital community services at the Millbrae Community Center site adjacent to Central Park.
The Council accepted the long-term Master Plan Report for Millbrae’s New Community/Recreation Center and the Community Center Rebuild Implementation Plan. In addition, they approved a contract amendment with Group 4 Architecture to begin designing the new building.
“Our first priority is to replace the Community Center and the lost programs,” said Millbrae Mayor Gina Papan. “We have many project elements on the table that our community wants, but the City needs to get our programs restored even if it means that we don’t build a gymnasium or redevelop Central Park at the same time.”
That sentiment was reiterated by Peter Ingram, the Community Center project manager who helped Group 4 with the public outreach component during the development of the master plan. “It’s important to maintain momentum and acknowledge the community’s concerns to get the Community Center rebuilt as soon as possible,” said Ingram. “The modular community center is a three-year solution, and is only a temporary support to the City while we design and rebuild the Millbrae Community Center.”
During his presentation, Ingram addressed the rebuilding of the Community Center’s Central Park site in three phases, as highlighted in the Master Plan Report. The master plan covers the entire existing Central Park - Community Center site, and describes the ultimate desired build-out and the various Master Plan “packages” to achieve the vision of the Millbrae community.
The approved Community Center Rebuild Implementation Plan expands on the Master Plan Report and deliberately focuses the next phase of work on rebuilding the Community Center and restoring parking on the site - two elements that community participants said were their primary concerns.
“Phase one restores the Community Center and will provide a 300-500 person capacity community space but does not include the gymnasium or redeveloped Central Park,” said Ingram. “As the Community Center is rebuilt, the site will be prepared for the next two phases, but the community can expect those to be built over a period of time. This gives the City options in deciding what to do as funding becomes available.”
While the City is still more than a year away from a groundbreaking, the City Council approved a contract amendment with Group 4, allowing the architecture firm to complete the conceptual design and environmental review for the new Community Center and 61 parking spaces.
“Rebuilding the Community Center is the highest priority right now,” said Councilman Reuben Holober. “While the community has also shown a great desire for a gym and redeveloped Central Park, those will come at a later date as funding becomes available. The master plan allows for phasing in these elements, which is not an uncommon practice.
Phase one is estimated to cost $25 million to $33 million.
“We are going to explore various partnerships to rebuild the Community Center with the least financial impact on the City as possible,” said Papan. “We have significantly reduced the initial cost by focusing exclusively on rebuilding the Community Center and are looking at revenue generation models to make the facility self-sustaining. We have a plan that allows us to explore many options, but it needs to work out financially.”