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Ground Broken on New City Offices

A new complex to house city employees will start taking shape soon on Machin Avenue in Novato's Old Town.

After 40 years of debate and discussion, cheerleading and the pooh-poohing, it's really going to happen. A new complex to house city employees will start taking shape soon on Machin Avenue.

Civic leaders got together Tuesday afternoon, just before a Novato City Council meeting, to say a few words about what it took to get to that point. The parking lot between the Novato Community House and the businesses along Grant Avenue will be turned into a corporation yard and construction workers will start by excavating the underground parking garage for the 19,000-square-foot building.

Members of the Novato City Council — Mayor Denise Athas, Madeline Kellner, Pat Eklund, Jeanne MacLeamy and Eric Lucan — each said a few words to mark the occasion along with City Manager Michael Frank. Then the golden shovels were pulled out for the traditional photo op.

For a full story about Tuesday's event, check this story from the . For a story about the chronology of the planned construction work and a reminder about downtown parking challenges while the project is going on, .

Now that it's officially under way, what are your thoughts? Are naysayers coming around ... Can they work to embrace the new building? Are longtime supporters of a civic center in Old Town getting emotional about all this? Share your thoughts with a comment below.

Gail Wilhelm July 24, 2012 at 07:27 AM
TR's wild accusations and fact free commentary on this thread suggests that he has no real substance underpinning his verbal venting. Bloviate away TR. Oh, and by the way Dave Robertson, the City of Novato does not own Lake Stafford. You guys need to elevate your game for anyone to take you seriously.
Tina McMillan July 24, 2012 at 08:22 AM
Gail Earlier in the thread I asked you where you propose to get the money to rehab the Community House. I linked to an article that explained the loss of money at the county level and the fact that the county was not willing to cover the loan to fund the bond measure that I believe is being used to build the downtown offices. If the tax increment is not sufficient to cover those costs then it will be the responsibility of the general fund. When you look at it in those terms a $17 million dollar project becomes a $40 million dollar project. Tom's Op ED points out that the Measure F increase in sales tax is now being used to fund salary increases rather than to stabilize our budget deficit. As I recall the Measure F oversight committee wrote a letter to the council asking them to reconsider the money allotted to build the downtown offices because they did not feel it was a prudent use of one time funds given our structural deficit. Once again, how do you propose to pay for the rehabilitation of the Community House when we don't have the money to pay for out ongoing debts? As for the downtown businesses needed more activity wouldn't it have made more sense to go with the original suggestion by Diet Stroeh and Chuck Bennett to use the property on which the civic center is being built, in trade for an office building so that a private developer could put in retail and parking on that site?
Mark Burnham July 24, 2012 at 02:03 PM
tina, its useless. asking gail wilhelm to answer an intelligent question just leaves you shaking your head. you either get silence or some angry personal attack. either no substance or the "wilhelm scream"! here is a compliation of her shrieks! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdbYsoEasio
Gail Wilhelm July 24, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Tina, I don't have a plan in mind yet, merely a goal. When I do you will no doubt hear about it. Unlike many who oppose any effort to improve the community, I believe in a democratic society where people work together to solve problems. The perpetual naysayeers ever accomplish anything.
Gail Wilhelm July 24, 2012 at 08:05 PM
typo correction: The perpetual naysayers NEVER accomplish anything.

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