The Day Worker Center of Mountain View has submitted plans to the city for a remodel of its new headquarters at 113 Escuela Ave., an abandoned cinderblock building that the center snapped up for $300,000 earlier this year.
Under the plans, the 3,496-square-foot building will receive a remodeled exterior and interior, landscaping, a rear patio, bike racks for 32 bikes, a parking lot and a garbage enclosure. Two weeks ago, the workers planted a small tree, which was important symbolically, said director Maria Marroquin.
But the plans come with an estimated price tag of about $800,000, and the center still must raise nearly half a million dollars to cover it. With the current economy hurting philanthropy everywhere, the fundraising could take years, board members said.
"It could take five years, who knows, you know?" said Worker Center board member John Rinaldi.
The center also must contend with opposition from neighbors living around the Escuela location, while asking the city for a special permit to operate the center in a residential zone. A petition circulated among neighbors earlier this year indicated that nearly every neighbor on the 100 block of Escuela Avenue opposes having the Day Worker Center in their neighborhood.
In a ploy to gain neighborhood support two weeks ago, the Worker Center advertised free labor for neighbors by knocking on doors, passing out flyers and in a brief article in the Voice. No neighboring households responded, but a few seniors asked for help with their community garden plots across the street.
Zoning administrator Peter Gilli will make the final call on the use permit in a yet-to-be-scheduled public hearing. But first, additional plans for Permanente Creek flood protection have to be submitted, as the project is on a flood plain, said planner Nancy Minicucci.
"Once we get the through the permitting process we will be able to get some more funding from individuals," Rinaldi said.
The center's Web site is here.