Millbrae Recreation Center

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With the loss of the Community Center, the City of Millbrae has embarked on the task of rebuilding a new Millbrae Recreation Center with your help and support.

Please visit this site regularly to see announcements on upcoming community meetings, and updates on the development of the new Recreation Center.

Comments and questions can be submitted via e-mail to (please reference “Millbrae Recreation Center” in the subject line), or by calling the project hotline at 650-259-2310.

News and Updates


Millbrae Recreation Center Community Update - September 6, 2018

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


Take the survey and let us know how you want the future Millbrae Recreation Center to look.

Click here to take the conceptual design options survey.

MRC Postcard August 2018


Community Center Flier 1

Community Center Flier 2


Millbrae Community Center Design Concepts Survey - May 20, 2018

Thank you to everyone who has come out to support the creation of design concepts for the new Millbrae Community Center.

Over the past two weeks, dozens of people have weighed in with their opinions but we need more people to share their thoughts and ideas by taking the online survey.

Please visit to take the survey.

The survey will give you an opportunity to see what has been presented so far, and rank what you like and don't like. In addition, there are questions that allow you to share details about what you would like to see.

We hope to hear from you!


Millbrae Community Center Update – April 16, 2018

Dear Millbrae Residents,

The Millbrae Community Center rebuild is well underway with Group 4 Architecture in the process of developing the conceptual design and environmental review for the new building. This progress marks a major milestone as the City Council and project team continue to take the positive steps to restore vital community and recreational services. While we are still more than a year away from the groundbreaking, we need the community’s continued support as we develop the concept and designs for the new building in the coming months.

Steps to Date

Late last year, Group 4 presented their recommendations to the City Council as the last step in the development of a comprehensive Master Plan Report. This Master Plan integrated the collective input from the community, city staff, the City Council, and other project stakeholders. It had several options for the City Council to consider for approval, ultimately leading them to decide on a Master Plan that included building a community center and gymnasium integrated into Central Park.

While the Master Plan was being finalized for adoption, the Council’s Community Center Rebuild Sub-Committee turned their attention to funding options and the prospects for a successful future ballot measure. This funding is necessary to fill the gap between the insurance settlement and the features the community requested in a new, modern Community Center. The Sub-Committee determined that a survey was needed to get further input from residents on how much revenue funding they would be willing to support to build a new Community Center everyone can all enjoy. 

Community Support

The survey found the majority of voters support a $25 million Community / Recreation Center Restoration bond or general sales tax. This amount, combined with the City’s insurance settlement and other funding already identified, will be used to restore the Community Center and its programs, paying for the initial phase of the project.

In January, the City Council approved phase one of the rebuild, which is a new Community Center. The new Community Center providing a 300 to 500-person capacity community space, and 61 parking spaces will be designed to provide space for a variety of programs including senior health and fitness programs, youth athletics, pre-school and after-school programs, as well as special community events. Phase one is estimated to cost $25 million to $33 million and does not include the gymnasium or redeveloped Central Park.

The City is exploring a variety of funding options including public-private partnerships, community and corporate sponsorships, and revenue enhancements such as general obligation bonds. These funds, in addition to the $6.2 million insurance settlement, will be used to design and build the new Community Center.

As the Community Center is rebuilt, the site will also be prepared for the next two phases, expected to be built over a period of time. This phased process gives the City options in deciding what to do as funding becomes available.

Building a Community Center for Decades to Come

Currently, the project team is setting dates in the coming months for a series of three community workshops to get further input on design and conceptual options. From the beginning, the City Council has made it clear that this is your community center. We strongly encourage everyone to participate in these workshops as they will guide Group 4 in designing the new Community Center.

On Tuesday, May 1st, the City will host a design values workshop to get community input on the look and feel of the new Community Center. The workshop will take place at the Millbrae Community Center in the City Hall parking lot at 7 p.m.  Please join us.

Our goal in this process is to build a community center that will be used and useful for decades to come. We are listening intently to the community’s ideas and hope everyone will be able to attend.

We are approaching the second anniversary of the Community Center fire. It has been a long road since then, and while there is a lot of work still to do, much has been done to restore vital community services as quickly as possible. By the end of 2018, we will have a final design and know how the project will be funded. In 2019, we anticipate completion of the construction drawings and hope to break ground.

Thank you for being an active participant in this entire process. Your input has been invaluable. Importantly, thank you for being patient. We all want this done right so we can build a new community center everyone will be proud of.


The Community Center Sub-Committee

Gina Papan, Mayor

Reuben Holober, Councilmember


City Council Reached Major Milestone in Millbrae Community Center Rebuild - March 1, 2018

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.”


Group 4 Architecture Presents Community Center Master Plan to City Council - February 23, 2018

On Tuesday, Group 4 Architecture will present the Millbrae Community Center Master Plan to the Millbrae City Council. 

 The final Millbrae's New Community/Recreation Center Master Plan Report (Master Plan Report) reflects the totality of community input received to date with added City staff and consultant team recommendations. It covers the entire existing Central Park / Community Center site, describing the ultimate desired build-out and the various options to achieve the Master Plan Report's vision. It also addresses current "best practices" for community/recreation center planning, design, and sustainability for meeting current and future City aspirations and operational needs. The Master Plan Report is the basis for the proposed scope of services compiled by Group 4 for the completion of the project over time, and as directed by the City. 

Please click here to view the Master Plan Report.


Millbrae Voters Surveyed Provide Input on Restoring Recreation Programs - February 5, 2018

City continues long-term planning to restore youth, family recreation programs

Millbrae, CA — A community survey builds on the City’s long-term planning to restore recreational programming lost when the 46-year-old Community Center burned down in 2016. The City has conducted a multitude of workshops, online community surveys, and public outreach at community events and local farmers markets to acquire community input in the development of a Community Center Master Plan.  The draft master plan includes both the restoration of the Community Center and the development of additional amenities and facilities within Central Park to serve the evolving needs of the community for years to come.  Over 1,500 residents have provided their feedback to date.

The survey, conducted in December 2017 by public opinion firm FM3 Research, was commissioned to assess voter perspectives and priorities for restoring recreation programming in Millbrae, including assessing potential interest in a local funding measure to restore the Community Center. The survey found voters are not prepared at this time to support a $72 million or $56 million two-thirds requirement bond measure that would fully fund the Community Center and additional facilities identified in the Community Center Master Plan scheduled for Council consideration in the coming weeks. Majorities indicate higher potential support for a reduced $25 million Community Recreation Center Restoration bond. This amount could partially fund the initial phase of the project, focused on the restored center. The restored Community Center proposed is designed to provide space for programs including senior health and fitness programs, youth athletics and tutoring, and pre-school and after-school programs. Any bond scenario would still require two-thirds voter approval.

“After spending more than a year gathering input from the community during our visioning process, these voter perspectives on restoring recreation in Millbrae are helpful as we continue to work with the community and deliberate next steps. We thank everyone who took time to participate in numerous community workshops and the survey,” said City Manager Marcia Raines.

A plurality of voters want to see a center that reflects the community’s future needs, and among their top priorities are restoring programming, space and classes inclusive of disabled access and youth after-school programs in a modern center that meets current earthquake, electrical and fire safety codes.  

“We need to continue to engage the community on restoring vital recreational programming for youth, families and seniors.  These programs keep our kids safe and out of trouble, help reduce the cost of child-care and offer after-school tutoring in core subjects like math, science, and language.  As the cost of living continues to rise, recreation programs are one of the few affordable options our residents have. We look forward to continuing our work with the community to identify the best approach to restoring these important programs,” continued City Manager Raines.  

Click here to view the community survey presentation.

Click here to view the executive summary of the community survey.


Millbrae Community Center Master Plan - January 19, 2018

On Tuesday, January 23, Group 4 Architecture will present the Millbrae Community Center Rebuild Project Master Plan Report to the City Council. At that meeting, the City Council will accept the report, and approve or deny a contract with Group 4 to move forward with conceptual and schematic design services. 

A copy of the Millbrae Community Center Rebuild Project Master Plan Report can be found here:

Millbrae Community Center Rebuild Project - Master Plan Report Final Draft for Council Approval

In addition, staff reports for the continuation of the project can be found here:

1-23-18 Agenda Item 8 Report No. 6047

1-23-18 Agenda Item 9 Report No. 6048


Click on the links below to view news and updates from 2017 and 2016. 

2017 Millbrae Recreation Center News and Updates

2016 Millbrae Recreation Center News and Updates