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Community Center Update

Post Date:03/31/2017 2:04 PM

Dear Millbrae Neighbors,

On Tuesday night, the Millbrae City Council approved a contract with Group 4 Architecture of South San Francisco to provide a comprehensive master plan for the future Millbrae Community Center. Through this first phase process, Group 4 will host a series of meetings to gather input from the community, community leaders, project stakeholders, and the City Council to develop a needs assessment and preferred plan for rebuilding the Community Center.

Group 4 was selected above numerous other applicants because of its depth of experience in working on projects similar to this, and their understanding of the need to work cooperatively with the community to create a facility that all will enjoy. Over the next seven months, Group 4 will be able to tell us what options are available to us in developing the Community Center, what different project options could cost, what our funding opportunities are, and what we can reasonably expect to build.

While Group 4 has been selected to develop the Community Center preferred preliminary plan, their work on phase two (final building design) and phase three (construction documents and services) of this project is not guaranteed by the Council’s action. At the end of the first phase, the City has the option to select a different project architect if the Council determines that their services were not adequate or their proposal for next phases do not meet our needs or expectations.

Insurance Settlement

Negotiations between the City and the insurance carriers to determine a final claim settlement are ongoing. The insurance carriers have advanced us approximately $3,700,000 in partial payments to facilitate the City’s recovery from the fire. In the short term, these funds will be used to cover the cost of the master planning effort, the temporary Community Center, and the demolition of the existing facility.  At Tuesday night’s meeting, the City Council approved a portion of the insurance advance to be used for the project.

Central Park Street Parking

Last week, the City sent out a letter and placed door hangers on the homes of residents who live around Central Park. In the letter, we stated that parking around Central Park and along Palm Avenue would be changed to two hour limits to make way for demolition and construction work at the Community Center site.

Unfortunately, there was a communication breakdown between our Public Works Department, the Recreation Department, and the residents who live around Central Park. We want to apologize for this miscommunication and the confusion it has caused. We want to assure you that no changes in parking will be made at this time.

The original concern that we are trying to address is accommodating summertime Central Park users who will not be able to use the Laurel Ave. parking lot when demolition and reconstruction of the Community Center is under way. If a family or large group is having a picnic gathering, we want them to be able to load/unload within a reasonable distance. Going forward, we have directed staff to broaden their thinking and bring parking change options back to the Council. This will only take place after staff has engaged nearby residents, and parking impacts are understood and minimized.

Public Engagement and Communications

Over the next seven months, Group 4 Architecture will facilitate several workshops and public meetings at various times and dates to get as much public input as possible for the development of the future Community Center.  We want to encourage everyone to participate in these meetings and workshops. The more people who participate, the better the new Community Center will reflect the needs and wants of our community.

In early April, the final schedule for future workshops and meeting dates, times and locations will be finalized. These will be posted on the City’s website (, through its social media pages, and through MCTV.  We will also be sending out a citywide postcard that will give you all the information you need to actively engage in this exciting community work.

In the meantime, comments and questions related to the Community Center can be submitted via e-mail to (please reference “Community Center Rebuild” in the subject line), or by calling the project hotline at 650-259-2310. The Millbrae Community Foundation continues to collect donations to help support recovery and rebuild efforts. To make a donation, please visit:    

This entire process has taken a long time, but it has been to ensure the City gets a fair claim settlement from our insurance providers, and to find a master plan architect who is the right fit for Millbrae. While there have been some setbacks, everyone in City Hall is being proactive to ensure the Community Center is built right, and will be right for the people of Millbrae.

As always, we appreciate your patience with this process, and your dedication to this project.


The Community Center Sub-Committee

Reuben Holober, Mayor  

Gina Papan, Vice Mayor

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