At present the Annex is available to all. Yes, some are lucky enough to live within walking distance, but visitors come from near and far, and are able to visit any day and any time from dawn until dusk.
If the museum complex is built as planned, a large part of this beautiful open space will be off-limits to all but a few. (The Los Altos history museum, for example, is open to the public for only 16 hours a week.) There will be perimeter security fencing to protect against vandalism and theft — and to keep the general public out. During hours of closure, "all of Mountain View" will probably be able to share the museum only if they book it for a private function — and for a fee, no doubt payable to the Mountain View Historical Society.
Cuesta Park neighbors have a right to be nervous at the prospect of a large commercial building in their midst, with its 24-hours-a-day security, lighting and noise. The museum, as projected, will irrevocably alter the unique character of this last remaining natural open space.
The city has indeed made a terrible blunder. Council members owe an explanation to more than 70,000 Mountain View residents as to how, and why, they gave this cherished and extremely valuable piece of publicly owned land to a society with only 300 members; especially since that membership includes several current and former council members.
Cuesta Park Annex should remain unchanged. Much better than any museum, it is a living exhibit of how beautiful this valley once was, before developers bulldozed the orchards and covered them with concrete. We owe it to everyone who comes to run, walk their dogs or play among the trees. We owe it those in need of some rare peace and quiet. We owe it to our children and grandchildren. Everyone loves the Annex.
Christine Crosby lives on Woodleaf Way.