1: Click here to hear Mark Lakeman talk about the value of gathering places.
You might want to listen first to his stories at the end of his presentation.

2: Click here to watch Patrick Siegman's presentation to our City Council.

3: Click here to read statements by Downtown business owners.

4: Click here to see the Facebook Page for the Downtown Commons Advocates (DCA), a group that includes Santa Cruz business owners and local activists who care about libraries, transportation issues, and environmental issues.

5: Click here to learn about Jayson Architecture's proposal for remodeling
the current Downtown Library.

6: Click here to read columns from the Sentinel by Stephen Kessler.


Issues involving our library and a proposed garage
in Downtown Santa Cruz

In June of 2016, voters in Santa Cruz County approved Measure S—a $67 million bond measure—to “repair, upgrade, and modernize the local library facilities in Santa Cruz, Aptos, Live Oak, Scott’s Valley, Boulder Creek, Capitola, Felton, and La Selva Beach”. (See https://myparceltax.com/library/.)

Subsequent to the passage of Measure S, City staff proposed, as a “modernization” of our Downtown Library, the construction of a new six-level garage, with a new library as part of the ground level of the garage. This garage would completely cover “Parking Lot #4”, the area bounded by Lincoln, Cathcart and Cedar Streets—where the Wednesday afternoon Farmers Market now takes place. Here is a rendering by Group 4 Architecture of this proposal:


Many of us were surprised and upset by this proposal, not having realized that such a proposal was being considered when we voted in favor of Measure S. For additional renderings by Group 4 Architecture, see this page, displayed by a local group's website (well worth perusing) entitled Don't Bury the Library.

Over the past two years, a number of issues have arisen. Some issues involve only the garage, some involve only the library, and some involve both the garage and the library. Below is a list of links to pages—on our website and elsewhere—that are worth reading. Several of these links also appear in our sequence of six header images at the top of this page. We encourage you to check them out. They are more or less in priority order.

  1. Mark Lakeman's presentation from March 2019.
    Mark, whose home is in Portland, Oregon, talks about the key importance of gathering places, and the success of the “Downtown Commons” that he helped create in Portland. You might want to start by listening to his stories at the end of his formal presentation. His first story is really moving.
  2. A video of Patrick Siegman's presentation to our City Council on March 19, 2019.
    Siegman, who was working for Nelson\Nygaard and is now an independent consultant, is one of five consultants who have advised the city to delay the construction of a new garage until pricing, commuter benefits, technology and reform of parking requrements have had a chance to work.
    This video is the main feature comprising the second of Ten Reasons Why Downtown Santa Cruz Doesn't Need a New Garage. A related essay by Rick Longinotti exposes background details about the political situation, and is worth reading.
  3. Many Downtown business owners are opposed to the proposal for a new garage, and have written statements about why they are opposed. Please click on this link to read them.
  4. A new organization—the Downtown Commons Advocates (DCA)—has formed. Its main coordinator is John Hall, who has moved here from Davis, where there is the much beloved and highly successful Farmers Market. Here is a link to the DCA's Facebook Page. The DCA advocates for the creation of a Downtown Commons on Parking Lot #4, so the organization is opposed to the proposal to construct a garage covering that space. Several Downtown business owners are participants.
  5. Can our existing Downtown library be remodeled and improved? The answer is YES.
    Friday, December 13, 2019, was a lucky day. As outlined by Stephen Kessler in his latest column (see below), on this day, Abe Jayson and Katie Stuart of Jayson Architecture presented their proposal for remodeling our Downtown library in its current location. To watch and listen to what they had to say, and to learn about the details of their presentation, click on this link.
  6. Stephen Kessler writes a column each week for the Santa Cruz Sentinel. We have posted four, all of which relate to what he calls the “Taj Garage”. The most recent one was published on January 4, 2020. It's called “Be green now. Save Lot 4. Rebuild the library.”. You can read them all right here.
  7. In this Guest Editorial in the Sentinel, over ten business owners call for a revitalized library without building a new parking garage, and creating a Town Commons with a permanent home for the Farmers Market at its existing location.