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History of the Redevelopment Agency of Menlo Park

Original post made by Stuart Soffer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks, on Sep 3, 2023

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File this under "If it ain't broken don't fix it."

Let me first apologize for errors in my recollection.

I served two terms on the Menlo Park Planning Commission, followed by stint on the Finance Committee.

Planning and finance Commissioners learn a lot about Menlo Park: its areas, zoning, residents, businesses, needs, myriad issues.

I've suggested that a necessary condition for someone to join the city council is to serve terms on Planning, and Finance.

The only residents who remember the RDA are City Manager Justin Murphy and myself, are few.

The RDA worked. It was financed by selling bonds whose proceeds were managed by the city to do good deeds. Bonds were paid back to investors through the city budget (I think).

Until State Street Bank of Boston, who issued RDA bonds, had their own problems.

The State of California absorbed the Redevelopment Agency funds from cities.

Why can't we reconstruct the RDA at this point?

Comments (1)

Posted by PH
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 7, 2023 at 6:23 pm

PH is a registered user.

@Stuart Soffer "The only residents who remember the RDA are ... are few.

Thanks, Stu!!!!! This is particularly timely. I'm grateful for your weblink and updated history.

There is nothing that HCD housing policy or modern progressive policy can do that will ever outperform what the RDA has done in creating community and personal wealth in Belle Haven.

Menlo Park's history has been forgotten. It's become de rigueur amongst everyone these days to label Belle Haven through the popular euphemisms of progressive policy language, particularly the ultra-patronizing "under served" label when it is clearly NOT under served.

HCD also operates under ignorance of the RDA in Belle Haven.

The HCD policy term "access to opportunity" literally means access to those facilities available in Belle Haven through the RDA which are NOT as easily and as readily available to many other neighborhoods in Menlo Park, including Sharon Heights.

Through the RDA Menlo Park invested tens of millions in Belle Haven infrastructure, creating community amenities that few neighborhoods have. The list in your history is very impressive.

-The Belle Haven Child Development Center
-Ivy Drive Plaza
-Willow Corners Commercial Development
-The Belle Haven Library
-Streetscape along Hamilton Ave
-The Menlo Park Senior Center
-The Onetta Harris Community Center
-Renovation of Kelly Park and Field
-Construction of a park and 47 new homes on Hamilton Ave
-Overall neighborhood street improvements including new curb and gutter,sidewalks, trees and roadways
-Belle Haven school field improvements

A quick look at Zillow prices show that Belle Haven home values exceed home values in nearby EPA by $.25 - $.5M per comparable.

The policy that should be emphasized now is protecting owner occupied home ownership in Belle Haven.

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