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2017 News & Updates

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Millbrae City Council Approves Community Center Preferred Plan - November 29, 2017


Please click here to download the complete presentation from Group 4 Architecture.


Group 4 Concludes Third Community Center Workshop - November 10, 2017

Group 4 Architecture recently completed its third and final Millbrae Community Center public open house. Over the past five months, Group 4 has held three open houses-workshops to engage the community and its leaders in identifying needs and aspirations on what they would like to see in the future Community Center. While not every program or facility identified will be included the final plan, the consensus on community priorities has been consistently clear.

During the first workshop, Group 4 hosted an open idea session that allowed community members to brainstorm and list what features and elements they wanted in the future Community Center. Things like better access to Central Park, flexible classroom space, active recreation spaces, and an area for formal events were highly supported.

“We need to make sure we preserve the limited open space and green fields we do have,” said one participant. “The new Community Center needs to incorporate Central Park, and it needs to be easily accessible so it can be used for large formal and informal events.”

“What we learned from the first meeting was that the community really wanted an integration of the community center and Central Park,” said Dawn Merkes, a principal at Group 4 Architecture. “It became very apparent that having plenty of activity spaces, both indoors and outdoors, is important to the community. With Central Park next door, this is one of the biggest opportunities we have to make the two spaces cohesive.”

During the second workshop, Group 4 presented three concepts that integrated the Community Center and Central Park. Some of the concepts, like placing the building in the park and using the Community Center as a park pavilion, were not highly supported. But what did stand out, and what the community overwhelmingly supported, was imagining the new community center as a  “porch” to Central Park.

“So far, we’ve heard back from more than 1,200 people who attended the workshops or filled out the online surveys,” said Merkes. “53% of respondents liked the park as a community center porch, using the park as an extension of the community center. The other element that was widely agreed upon was having a large gymnasium that would meet the needs of residents of all ages.”

On October 24, Group 4 held its final workshop and presented four refined building layouts with two Central Park layouts to get feedback on both the evaluation criteria and the layouts. Based on community input during the workshop, which was attended by members of the City Council and Parks and Recreation Commission, Group 4 is seeing that consensus is leaning towards the “C3-Amphitheater” option as the preferred building layout. The main variables being whether it is a single building or multiple buildings, and whether the parks maintenance building stays in the park or is relocated.

“The major problem I see with having the gym and Community Center connected is that students from Taylor Middle School will cut through, and other activities at the gym could really disturb what’s going on in the classrooms,” said one participant. This sentiment was supported by many attendees.

Over the next two weeks, Group 4 will take all the feedback from the open houses, workshops, pop-up kiosks, and online surveys, and develop a recommended Millbrae Community Center Master Plan for the City Council to consider on Nov. 28. The final master plan will summarize the needs assessment, program options, site and building layouts, and the recommendations for the Council to consider.

In addition to Community Center building and layout concepts, the report will provide an implementation plan with project budgets and funding strategies. While the insurance settlement did provide the City with just under $6.2 million, the emerging preferred project’s costs are expected to $30 million.

To learn more about the various options presented at the third public workshop and share your thoughts on the options, please visit:

Please click on the video below to watch the entire workshop:



Community Center Update - October 14, 2017

Dear Millbrae Residents,

It’s been more than a year now since the Millbrae Community Center was destroyed by a fire, and while the site of the former building is now empty, there has been a great amount of work and progress towards rebuilding the facility.

In July, the Millbrae City Council approved a more than $6 million settlement with its insurance providers to pay for the replacement of the Community Center in “as-was” condition. Through the settlement, the City will receive $6.2 million. Payment amounts include $5,123,000 to replace the building, $778,000 to ensure the new building meets current building and safety codes, and $292,000 to demolish the destroyed structure down to the concrete foundations and slab.

Group 4 Architecture held its second public workshop last month and continues to in gather input and ideas from the community to build a future state-of-the-art Community Center. At the recent workshop, based on the feedback the team got from the community and the site research it conducted, Group 4 presented three concepts for the future community center to better understand what themes local residents liked and disliked. Three concepts were presented: Gateway Park Pavilions, Park As Community Center Porch, and Buildings In The Park. Most of the people who attended the open house and workshop liked the Park As Community Center Porch concept that fully integrated Central Park and outdoor activity areas into the future Center.

To date, more than 800 members of our community have given their ideas either in person or through the online surveys. For those who couldn’t make the second workshop, you can still see the three concepts and provide you feedback by visiting This is a second survey that is more focused on the site options and program options discussed at the open house and workshop. We want to encourage everyone to participate in the second survey as the new Community Center is starting to take shape.

The public workshops that have been held so far have been very successful, but the work is not done. Group 4 will be hosting its third and final workshop on Tuesday, October 24. It will be held in the Chetcuti Community Room with the open house starting at 4 p.m. and the workshop beginning at 7 p.m.

These public workshops and the second online survey are very important in ensuring that the future  Community Center meets the needs of Millbrae and its residents. This process is not easy, nor quick, but it is essential. In November, following three rounds of public input, Group 4 will combine everyone’s ideas and desires, and present the City Council with a cohesive Community Center Master Plan. Although not everything everyone wants will be in the final plan, they will be innovative in creating a space everyone will enjoy for decades to come.

We fully expected the temporary Community Center to be up and open by now, but we ran into a few roadblocks. In February, the City Council approved the use of $1 million from additional insurance coverage designed to pay for ongoing costs to purchase modular buildings to serve as our interim Community Center - this is funding from a difference insurance account than described above. The temporary center will be located in the parking lot behind City Hall.

This site is centrally located, but it needs new electrical service and utility connections. While the modular buildings, which will act as the temporary Community Center, is being fabricated, engineers from the City are completing the necessary site upgrades. Work on the site is expected to be completed, and the facility open, by the end of November.

The City of Millbrae owes a special thank you to San Mateo County. Since the fire, there has been an outpouring of support from nearby communities and the County. Earlier this year, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors awarded a $250,000 Measure K grant to Millbrae. This money will help pay for the temporary Community Center, and its residual proceeds will go towards building and maintaining the new permanent facility.

This past year has been trying for us all. In spite of the setbacks, much progress has been made:  Central Park has been cleaned and opened to the public; the burned-out Community Center was demolished and the site was cleaned; Group 4 Architecture is well underway in developing a master plan and cost analysis; and the City has accepted a $6.2 million insurance settlement. Once the master plan and cost analysis are presented we will be seeking additional community input on funding the new center.  

We want to thank you for your patience and participation throughout this entire process. We you are working toward a new state-of-the-art Community Center that will be sustainable and appreciated for decades to come.


Mayor Reuben Holober and Vice Mayor Gina Papan


Community Center Public Workshop 2 - September 19, 2017



Millbrae Delegation Visits Neighboring Community Center Sites - September 8, 2017

Tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 9, members of the Millbrae City Council, Parks and Recreation Commission, and other community members will tour four community centers and parks to help in guiding the vision of the future Millbrae Community Center.

The tour will begin with a 9 a.m. meeting in the City Hall parking lot. From there, the group will visit Menlo School Gyms (9:25 a.m.), Palo Alto Mitchell Park (10:45 a.m.), the Roosevelt Community Center (12:30 p.m.), and the Seven Trees Community Center (1:45 p.m.). The Millbrae team is expected to return to City Hall around 3:30 p.m.

Members of the public who would like to join can meet at the designated locations and times, or travel with the Millbrae team. Travel seating is limited, and members of the public will be accommodated on a first come, first serve basis.


Community Center Workshop Sept 2017 Flier


Millbrae Receives $6 Million Insurance Settlement for Fire Destroyed Community Center -       

July 26, 2017

It’s been a little more than a year since the Millbrae Community Center was destroyed by a fire, but today marks a major milestone as the City of Millbrae and its insurance providers have agreed on a fair settlement amount related to the loss of the Center.

Through the settlement, the City of Millbrae will receive $6,194,501 to replace the Millbrae Community Center. Payment amounts include:

  • Building replacement - $5,123,547
  • Building codes adjustments - $778,054
  • Demolition of the destroyed structure down to the concrete foundations and slab - $292,900

“I am extremely happy that the City and its insurance providers have reached a fair settlement to replace the Millbrae Community Center,” said Millbrae Mayor Reuben Holober. “Unfortunately, it took more than a year to get this done, but we had to take the time to ensure the City got a fair amount that would not leave us in a bad position down the road.”

Through the insurance policy, the maximum amount that will be authorized and paid will be set at $4,400,429 until the building is replaced. The remaining amount of $1,794,072 will be paid when the new Community Center building is completed and has received its occupancy permit from the City.

“In six months, we will have a preferred project concept plan in place. In 12 months, we will be well on our way to building the new Center. We have taken the time to do this right and get a fair amount that did not undercut our needs,” said Holober. “I commend everyone who has worked on this project, and am thankful to the community for their support and patience through it all.”

In October, a temporary Community Center will open in the City Hall parking lot, and provide needed space for recreation programs and staff. This temporary Center was paid for in part with a $250,000 grant from the County of San Mateo’s Measure K community enhancement program.  


Join us to honor the Millbrae Community Center - July 12, 2017

On Friday, July 21, the City of Millbrae will be hosting a gathering to recognize the one-year commemoration of the Millbrae Community Center fire. The event will be held at Central Park and start at 7:30 a.m. with light refreshments and pastries.

Residents are invited to attend and share some of their memories from the Community Center. Millbrae Mayor Reuben Holober will speak briefly, and MCTV will present a photo montage of the former Community Center. City staff will also be on site to help collect input from residents on what they want in the future center.

This is a free event, and all are invited. We hope to see you there!


Future Millbrae Community Center Workshop Focuses on Cohesive Use - May 18, 2017

Open spaces, multi-use rooms and access were all major topics of discussion on Tuesday night at the interactive workshop for the future Millbrae Community Center. More than 30 Millbrae residents participated in the two-hour event, sharing their ideas on what amenities and services they thought should be included at the new Community Center.

“It’s not just about the Community Center,” said one participant. “Taylor Middle School students walk through the property and Central Park. We need to account for when they go to school and get out because it impacts how and when we will use the Community Center.”

Early in the discussion, several participants noted that there needs to be improved access for pedestrians, bicyclists and motor vehicles at the new Community Center. Workshop facilitators then drew out potential access points and thoroughfares around a site map of the Community Center site, Central Park and the surrounding area.

While several participants noted which streets become jammed and during what times, others focused on the need to better incorporate Central Park into the new Community Center.

“We need to make sure we preserve the limited open space and green fields we do have,” said one participant. “The new Community Center needs to incorporate Central Park, and it needs to be easily accessible so it can be used for large formal and informal events.”

Outdoor activities and recreation areas drew much attention during the discussion. Dawn Merkes, a principal at Group 4 Architecture, noted that “outdoor activities and programs like summer camps, performing arts events, movies in the park, and outdoor fitness are highly desired in Millbrae. Making the new Community Center cohesive indoors and outdoors will be a key point of success for this project.”

Workshop facilitators from Group 4 acknowledged that the goal at the end of this process is to combine everyone’s ideas and desires, and present the City Council with a cohesive Community Center Master Plan. They also noted that while not everything everyone wants will be in the final plan, they will be creative in efficiently using the space to create an attractive and flexible facility.

“From what we have heard so far, the future Millbrae Community Center needs to offer a variety of amenities and services for everyone to use and enjoy. Our goal is to focus and combine those ideas into a community center that everyone in Millbrae - men and women, young and old – will enjoy and use,” said Andrea Gifford, a principal at Group 4 Architecture. “To give Millbrae the Community Center it wants and deserves though, we need everyone who has a vested interest in this project to participate in the planning process.”

Millbrae residents who missed Tuesday night’s workshop have the opportunity to share their ideas and thoughts with the planning and design team by filling out an online survey. The survey can be accessed at To learn more about the new Millbrae Community Center, and to sign-up for e-mail updates on the project, please visit

 Below is the current timeline in developing the Community Center Master Plan.Community Center Master Plan.


Share your thoughts and ideas on the future Millbrae Community Center - May 16, 2017

Millbrae residents have an opportunity to share their ideas and thoughts on what the future Millbrae Community Center should look like by filling out our online survey.

Click on the link below to access the Millbrae Community Center Survey:


 Millbrae Community Center Public Meetings Announcement


Construction Notice - April 12, 2017

Community Center Demolition - Traffic Around Your Neighborhood May Be Affected 

Dear Millbrae Resident:

The City of Millbrae has contracted with Asbestos Management Group to begin demolition of the fire-damaged Millbrae Community Center located at 477 Lincoln Circle.

The demolition of the Millbrae Community Center is expected to begin the week of April 17th, weather permitting.  The demolition work will last about four (4) weeks.  The work is expected to be complete by mid-May.

The contractor will use the Laurel Avenue parking lot adjacent to the Community Center for equipment staging and crew parking.  Trucks (four to six daily at peak activity) will travel on Lincoln Circle and Richmond Drive and use the public parking lot adjacent to the tennis courts for turn-around.

We will do our best to minimize disruption to the neighborhood during this process. 

We greatly appreciate your cooperation and thank you for your patience as we continue to improve the community.

As with all construction projects, please expect intermittent traffic delay.  Please pay special attention to traffic control personnel and respect all construction warning signs.  

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at (650) 259-2339. 

Thank you.

April 12th 2017 Construction Notice


Community Center Update – March 31, 2017

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


Parks and Recreation Commission Gives Community Center Update – March 2, 2017

Millbrae residents and community organizations were given a comprehensive update on the Community Center Rebuild Project at the Parks and Recreation Commission Meeting on February 21, 2017. A status report on the City’s actions since the fire was provided at the start of the meeting: the reopening of Central Park was the first key step of the rebuild project, which has since been accomplished. The next significant steps include demolition of the burned-out building, building an interim community center, and the selection of an architectural team.

“The demolition project is currently out to bid and bids will be opened March 2nd,” said Senior Project Manager Peter Ingram. “As for the interim building, the City Council awarded a contract at the February 28 Council meeting. The temporary modular building will house classes and programs until the new Community Center is completed.”

To ensure the meeting attendees’ complete understanding, Mr. Ingram outlined the progress made towards selecting an architect for this project. The City issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) for architectural design and planning services on January 6, receiving nine statements of qualifications (SOQs). The goal is to select a firm that can develop a rebuild master plan, facility programming, cost estimates, and funding options based on the community’s wants and needs.  These deliverables will include schematic – or preliminary – design for the new Center, but will not move into final design until the City Council has made its decisions in the Fall of 2017.

On February 24, four of the nine architectural teams were interviewed. Mayor Reuben Holober, Vice Mayor Gina Papan, and Chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission Chris Del Nagro were members of the City’s selection committee. The teams were ranked based on their qualifications, experience, project management capabilities, consultants’ quality of work, demonstrated community engagement ability, and financial responsibility. The staff will complete the process of negotiating a contract with the top-ranked firm and plans to have the City Council consider awarding a contract on March 28.

The purpose of the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting was to both inform and foster an ongoing dialogue with the Millbrae community and its leaders. Highlights from the discussion included a strong interest in collaborating with school districts and other key organizations to create a space that fulfills a variety of needs within the community. The rebuilding of the Community Center offers an excellent opportunity for growth and partnership throughout the City, and community members expressed their hope that they would see “real ownership” from the City’s project team for a successful new facility.

“The community’s feedback has been an enormous help throughout this process,” said Mayor Holober. “The Community Center needs to be just that: a space that meets all the needs and goals of its community. We are committed to making sure the project is a resounding success.”

Once the architect is selected for this project, the Commission will coordinate with the new team members to develop the rebuild master plan. The work plan will include analysis of  possible uses of the new facility, exploration of partnerships, and incorporating community preferences. Simultaneously, the Commission will work closely with City staff and the architectural team to produce cost analyses throughout the process and make recommendations to support policy decisions. This process will ultimately produce a “Preferred Plan” for the rebuild, which will then be presented to the City Council in the Fall of 2017.


Presentation – Parks and Recreation Commission, February 21, 2017

On February 21st, the Parks and Recreation Commission had their monthly meeting, where they discussed the Community Center Rebuild project. Click/tap on the image or text below for a copy of the presentation that was discussed at the meeting.

Community Center Rebuild Project P&R Commission Feb. 21, 2017

Presentation - Parks & Recreation Commission, February 21, 2017


Community Center Update – January 27, 2017

Dear Millbrae Neighbors,

With remediation work at Central Park complete and the installation of a temporary fence around the fire site, we are now underway in getting the Community Center building demolished and cleaned in preparation for its development.

Site Remediation and Demolition

Last month, Kellco Services was hired to do comprehensive hazardous materials testing inside the Community Center building in preparation for demolition. That work is well underway and a set of demolition and abatement specifications are expected to be given to the City by the end of the month. We are working closely with Kellco to ensure the site is clean and appropriately prepared to ensure dust and debris from the demolition work at the site does not impact surrounding neighbors.

In the coming weeks, the City will issue a call for bids for demolition work. Following that, City staff will review bids and recommend award of a demolition contract by the City Council in March. This process may seem lengthy, but we are required by law to give appropriate public notice of the contract, and thoroughly review bids to ensure they will comply with health and safety regulations, and perform the work to our specifications. We have set a firm goal to have the entire Community Center building demolished and prepared for construction by late April.

Prior to demolition, the City’s Public Works Department will be inspecting the site to create a list of resources and materials that may be salvageable. This includes the gazebo and HVAC equipment that was not damaged by the fire. While the insurance coverage the City has on the Community Center was the best available, and will cover the costs to rebuild the Center in “as was” condition, we want to save whatever materials and resources possible.

Insurance Settlement

This has been one of the most tedious parts of this process, but we are close to reaching a fair settlement with the insurance adjusters. As noted, the City had the best fire insurance available on the Community Center. Because insurance providers do not offer municipal governments fire insurance for future costs and values, the best possible insurance was coverage that paid to rebuild the Community Center in “as was” condition, as well as paying for incurred administrative costs.

Through our discussions with the claims adjusters and legal counsel, we hope to have an agreed upon settlement next month. The main crux in this negotiation has been what each party, the City and the insurance providers, think a fair settlement in “as was” condition amounts to. To help inform the discussions, the City retained peer reviewer engineering and construction estimation consultants. While we could have settled at a much lower payout earlier in the process, we need to ensure the City gets a fair settlement.

Rebuild Planning

On January 6th, a request for qualifications (RFQ) was issued by the City for architectural design and planning services. The purpose of this RFQ is to elicit proposals from several firms and select a service provider who can best conduct a creative public input process, create rebuild plan and cost options, and eventually design the new Center. While the RFQ was sent to three targeted firms that have performed similar work in neighboring cities, it was also made available to local firms through the City’s website, the A/E Consultants Information Network, and the American Institute of Architects’ San Francisco Chapter. The full RFQ can be found by clicking here.

This RFQ was not created to select an official design of the new Community Center. This first step is to select a firm that can develop a rebuild master plan and cost estimates based on our wants and needs. We will continue to work with the entire Millbrae community to decide what amenities, concepts and design elements will be included in the final Community Center blueprint. After that, the firm will provide design proposals, which we will be able to modify or request alternatives to. We expect to select an architectural and planning service provider by the end of March.

Public Engagement and Communications

The Parks and Recreation Commission and City Council will be hosting several meetings at various times and dates to get as much public input as possible for the development of the future Community Center.  The Parks and Recreation Commission will be holding its next meeting on February 21st to get public input. City staff will post future meeting updates, dates and times on the City’s website (, Facebook page, and through MCTV. 

In the meantime, the Millbrae Community Foundation continues to collect donations to help support recovery and rebuild efforts. To make a donation, please visit:    

Continuing Park & Recreation Services - Interim Space

We are currently in the process of procuring modular buildings and setting up a rental agreement with local landowners to develop a site to house recreation staff, set-up a public reception and business counter, and provide flexible rooms for meetings and events. This is in addition to the temporary facilities and spaces that have already been provided throughout the City since the fire. While the procurement process for the modular buildings is relatively straight forward, we are still in exploratory discussions with local landowners to settle upon agreeable use terms and conditions.

Our goal is to ensure the new Parks and Recreation space meets all our needs and is easily accessible to the community. As we expect this site to be in operation for more than two years, finding the right site and settling upon space and parking requirements is a challenge. We are confident the right site and terms of use will be found, and have not changed our move-in goal of mid-April.

We understand the sentiment of many community members who are concerned about the amount of time this entire process has taken. We want you to know that everyone in City Hall is truly doing their due diligence to ensure this is done right. Doing it right means the fire site can be demolished without causing harm to nearby residents, the City gets a fair insurance settlement, and that we create a space that will be used and enjoyed by all.

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


The Community Center Sub-Committee

Reuben Holober, Mayor  

Gina Papan, Vice Mayor



City of Millbrae – Community Center Rebuild Project

Public Health & Safety, Central Park Re-Opening

January 2017

The purpose of this report is to verify the status of the soils around the burnt-out Community Center building and provide a laypersons’ summary of the soils testing that was carried out by a specialized company following the fire of July 21, 2016.  The full report by Forensic Analytical Consulting Services (FACS) is attached, along with a site map for readers’ reference.

In the hours and days following the Community Center fire, the City’s staff and its insurance carriers immediately implemented current and best practices for protecting citizens from any potentially hazardous substances that were created by the fire itself and/or by the suppression of the fire.  Not surprisingly, the amount of water used to fight the fire created surface runoff around the perimeter of the building and in adjacent landscape areas.  The entire park was immediately closed and fenced so that the Fire Department could complete its post-fire investigation and the initial site “mop-up” could be done.  At that time the City requested that soils tests be performed before any portion of the park was re-opened.  On August 12, 2016, FACS collected samples from several locations around the building and adjacent park areas.  An accredited laboratory analyzed those samples and the results returned to FACS.  The analysis presented in the attached FACS report fall into three categories of potentially harmful substances:

  • Asbestos
  • Heavy metals
  • Volatile organic compounds

The findings were that no concentrated levels of any of the substances of concern exceeded federal EPA thresholds, with the exception of two sample locations, which showed elevated levels:

  1. Lawn area in front of the building, near the street entry
  2. Lawn area to the immediate east of the building

Both positive test locations are inside the re-aligned, temporary construction fence, and therefore no exposure to the public will occur.

In the case of sample location No. 4 – the wood chips under the playground, the City has recently removed all the chips, cleaned the play equipment, and installed new mulch, even though the test results were negative.

In summary, the City has determined, based on scientific forensic data, that the re-opened portions of Central Park are free of health and safety risks related to the fire.  During the demolition and re-building of the Community Center, all state and federal regulations for the identification, handling, removal, hauling, and disposal of potentially hazardous materials inside the construction fencing will be followed to the highest standards, such that current park users and future Community Center visitors will enjoy a healthy and safe environment.

To view the FACS Soil Results Report, please click here:

To view the locations of the Central Park soil samples, please click here: