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Millbrae Recreation Center Community Update - September 2018

Post Date:09/06/2018 2:31 PM

Dear Millbrae Residents,

The two-year anniversary since the fire tragically destroyed our Recreation Center has just passed. Although the process seems long, we are doing everything we can to restore the Millbrae Recreation Center as quickly as possible while engaging our community in the design of this important facility. It’s critical that this project is done right because it is the community’s project and the Millbrae Recreation Center will be used by all for generations to come.

Currently, the City has secured more than $9.5 million from insurance proceeds, developer contributions, and committed capital project funds to restore the Millbrae Recreation Center. The sale of surplus City property and capital contributions from potential operators is projected to raise an additional $8 million. In total, the restoration of the Millbrae Recreation Center is estimated to cost $30 million. Our challenge is that this still leaves the City with a $12 million shortfall in funding to break ground on this restoration project next year. 

This November, you will have the opportunity to vote on Measure II, funding for the restoration of the Millbrae Recreation Center. Last month, the City Council voted unanimously to approve a bond measure that, if passed, will provide $12 million in additional financing for this project. When the bond is issued, bond proceeds will only be used to pay for the Recreation Center and property taxes associated with the bond will only be used to repay the bond debt. The measure includes strong fiscal accountability including independent financial audits and citizen’s oversight to ensure funding is spent responsibly and efficiently.  Based on average property values, the tax amount will be $8.70 per $100,000 of assessed value.  For the average home owner in Millbrae, their tax bill is estimated to increase by about $56 per year.  It will depend on your home’s assessed value.

Many people have asked why the insurance settlement is not paying for this project. The reality is that the previous community center was 50 years old, and, while the City had the facility insured at its maximum value, it only amounted to an insurance settlement of $6.2 million. The City could not insure the building for more than its depreciated value. 

In addition to the progress made on funding, the City is now halfway through the design phase of this project and we want to thank everyone who has participated so far. Last month, Group 4 Architecture completed community outreach for the “design values phase.” 957 people gave their feedback on design values through a series of engagement opportunities and an online survey. Group 4 will use this feedback to develop the design options and massing models. Similar to previous outreach, Group 4 will set up a series of intercepts and host a community workshop on September 18th to get community feedback on these design options.  

If you have not had a chance to visit one of Group 4’s design intercepts, please visit to see the design options and provide your feedback on what you would like to see at the new Millbrae Recreation Center.

The opportunity and depth of this project is great, and while some maybe concerned about the time it is taking to restore the Millbrae Recreation Center, we want to assure you that it is our priority to restore the Center as quickly as possible.  Thank you for your patience these past two years, and for taking the time to help create a truly great Millbrae Recreation Center.


The Community Center Sub-Committee

Gina Papan, Mayor

Reuben Holober, Councilmember

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