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Aerial HUSD construction photos

March11SchaferParkIn addition to a budget revision and report, various items related to employee reduction and a public hearing on HUSD’s contract proposal to the teacher’s union, there will be an update on the progress of school construction related to Measure I funds at Wednesday’s meeting. Still on schedule and under budget, as it was in the January update story. But the packet included some interesting aerial shots of the current state of the sites, here they are. Continue Reading

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Calendar for week of March 7; Bunker Hill meeting tonight

There’s a meeting tonight that I just found out about, regarding the disposal of Bunker Hill properties currently owned by Caltrans. A Bunker Hill resident faxed me a city document that she’d gotten hold of through a public records request. It outlines potential troubles, such as “limited ingress and egress” and “unsafe nature of the existing roadway,” and the need for road and infrastructure improvements. It also points out that Caltrans wants to get a fair deal for the land, money which will then be used to fund transportation projects in Alameda County.

Bottom line: “Caltrans has made a preliminary finding that it would be preferable to market the property as one large piece, which would maximize return on the entire parcel and allow flexibility in ultimately configuring development so as to make development more economically feasible, while meeting the zoning and health and safety requirements of the city. It is this preliminary finding that we will be discussing with attendees at the upcoming meeting at Hayward City Hall Council Chambers on Monday, March 7, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.” Continue Reading

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Centennial Hall deconstruction well under way

centennialdestructStopped by the site this morning, and this is what I saw. Somewhere under that heap, I believe close to the spot where the rubble peaks, my wife and I cut up the dance floor to a Shane MacGowan/Sinead O’Conner duet and cut the cake to Def Leppard. The Irish whiskey at the open bar was the first to go, and my wife’s father and her uncle (Carl Nolte of the S.F. Chronicle) both complained that my rube friends drained it without the appreciation it deserves. We didn’t have the main hall — that was being used for the wedding reception of a preacher’s daughter, and it was a dry event. We ran into some of the wedding party in the parking lot outside, mixing drinks at an impromptu bar set up in someone’s trunk. Good times, sort of a bummer to see the place torn down, but I still got the memories and photographs.

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Mission Blvd. mission continues, despite potential funding loss

The City Council held a Tuesday night work session on the Mission Boulevard Specific Plan. That’s the one that covers Mission from Harder Road to the northern city limit, with the exception of the downtown area between Jackson and A streets. It’s 640 parcels, 200 acres, about 2 miles long.

As Mayor Mike Sweeney pointed out, it’s important to keep in mind that redevelopment funds are crucial to see this become a reality, and the future of those funds is uncertain because Gov. Brown has stated he wants to dissolve redevelopment agencies and use the funds elsewhere.

“If the governor is successful and redevelopment is no longer available, that takes several tools out of the tool box for this area,” Sweeney said. “The remaining tools would have to be used very effectively.”

Read about Tuesday’s discussion after the jump, click on images for a larger view. Continue Reading

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Crime, cleanliness remain top Hayward priorities

The City Council held the first of at least two priority-setting workshops last night. This one was a sort of brainstorming session, the City Manager will take input back to the drawing board and return with a revised version next month. In the end, it’s these priorities that are used to formulate where dollars will be spent when it comes time to create the budget for FY 2011-12.

Main goals carry over from last year. City Manager Fran David wanted to take the “Crime and Public Safety” and “Cleanliness” priorities from last year and also give a nod to the city’s work to be environmentally conscious, packaging it together into ”Safe, Clean, Green.”

Mayor Mike Sweeney, who was behind both the city’s Sustainability Committee and the Keep Hayward Clean and Green Task Force, objected.

“I’m very proud of our accomplishments, and we’ve done a lot of good things,” he said. “But I’m not sure I’m comfortable to say it’s an overriding priority.”

Continue Reading

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Cinema Place Gallery opening downtown

artgallery02Also on the list of things to do, check out the Cinema Place Gallery, opening Saturday after a Friday night reception. I was told they weren’t prepared to host “Hayward at large” for the Friday event, but I’m betting if you walk by and poke your head in, nobody’s going to bite it off.

Hayward Arts Council organizers were very happy to score works by William “Bill” Sala, and they have a slew of other Hayward area artists: Simone Archer, M. Barta Atkins, Larry Bendoski, Jean Bidwell (who is painting that huge mural over behind the Grand Terrace Townhomes), Carol Jones Brown, Nick Calarco, Beverly Carlson, Philip Denst, Cecil Gertz, Susan Helmer, Molly McKenzie, Walter Levy, Mark Mertens, Denise Oyama Miller, Kathy Ries, Kimberly Rowe, Susan Sarti, Cindy Sullivan, John Warner and Robert Wolff.

They have the space for at least six months; after that it’s not certain how long they’ll stay. Developer is always courting potential tenants for the spot, which, along with other Cinema Place storefronts, has gone unused since the project was finished in 2008.

“We continue to aggressively try to lease the space,” said Bradley Blake of Blake-Hunt Ventures. “The market is soft overall, and we’re experiencing that in Hayward as well. We have prospects that come along every week or so but in this environment, retailers are looking for a really, really good deal. They tend to be focused on the reuse of older space, or going into markets safe and proven. … (Cinema Place) is a pioneering space.”

Speaking of Cinema Place, anyone been to Kokyo Sushi Buffet? They seem to be doing really well and get good online reviews. I tried to do a story about them when they first opened, but they regarded me with suspicion, asking me how much money I wanted for the story. “I find it interesting that a newspaper would want to do a story on us for free,” said one of the Kokyo staffers.

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Calpine says Russell City Energy Center is a go

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UPDATE: Here is the story.

The EPA rejected all appeals regarding the federal air permit issued in February by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Calpine representatives say that was the final hurdle for the 600-megawatt facility near the Hayward shoreline; spoke briefly with opponents, who said there may be other ways to block it.

Working on a story for tomorrow, but find the Calpine release after the jump. Curious quote from Kim Huggett, the new president and CEO of Hayward’s Chamber of Commerce about how the power plant will “be a magnet for bringing new business to Hayward.” Continue Reading

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Hayward’s partnership program

Hayward city officials, along with HUSD and HARD representatives, have been meeting with residents in neighborhoods all over town to hear what their concerns are and what should be done to improve their quality of life.

Officials say the Neighborhood Partnership Program has been a big success. Here’s a presentation that explains what’s going on. The goal is to have an initial set of four meetings facilitated by the city, then turn the reins over to the residents. So even if the meetings have already been held for your area, you should be able to get in contact with people who have set up an action team. For more information, call Neighborhood Services at 510-583-4227 or e-mail director David Korth at david.korth@hayward-ca.gov.

And just as a reminder, you can also use the city website’s Access Hayward feature to file complaints or suggestions of things that need work.

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Hayward library design finalists, and the winner

A design was selected for the proposed new downtown Hayward Main Library and Community Learning Center  at a joint meeting Tuesday between the City Council and Library Commission. There were three design choices, after the jump you’ll find an overview and artist renditions. Design descriptions are from the staff report, illustrations are courtesy of Noll and Tam, the architecture firm involved with the planning. They’re from a PowerPoint presentation that is available here. Continue Reading

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Cal State East Bay development blocked

Here’s our story on a judge’s ruling regarding a large parking structure and new dorms planned at the Hayward campus. Basically, the judge agreed that CSU didn’t do enough to mitigate the effects of more cars and residents. City Attorney Michael Lawson said the university planned to ask the state for money to help the city handle the extra load, but would have gone ahead with the projects whether they got the funds or not, putting the burden on the city.

The university plans to double its student body in the next 20 years or so.

You can find more information about the projects on the CSUEB website. The parking lot and dorm reports are under the subheading “Cal State East Bay Hayward Campus Master Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report Volume II

To view the case, go to Alameda County’s DomainWeb site and enter case number RG09480852.