Menlo Park Mayor Peter Ohtaki (dubbed with an honorary Irish surname "O'Taki") described the state of Menlo Park, California, as strong. Empty storefronts downtown are being replaced by businesses such as the Refuge restaurant and the LEGO store, Build It Again With Bricks. On a recent trip to the East Coast he was delighted to find that people no longer confuse Menlo Park, California, with the eponymous community near Edison, New Jersey.
The progress comes at a price, with traffic and economic vibrancy clashing with village character, Mayor Ohtaki said. "We must solve the bottleneck of El Camino Real." Compromises with the proposed Stanford-Arrillaga development will continue to be worked out, as will any revisions to the downtown/El Camino Real specific plan.
The friendship agreement is a symbolic gesture indicating the two cities aspire to build a connection without committing either city to fund programs such as cultural exchanges, Mayor Ohtaki told the Almanac.
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