No home yet for Berlin Wall sections
On Tuesday the City Council was set to decide where to display two large sections of the Berlin Wall donated to the city last year, but could not come to an agreement.
Council members were divided over three potential locations for the pieces: Pioneer Park behind City Hall, Charleston Park next to Google headquarters and Centennial Plaza next to the downtown train station. Members voted to have city staff look closer at places to put the wall section that weren't in a park, including more information on how it might fit near the train station.
The sections were donated by the Golzen family, which has had the sections tucked away in the parking lot of an office park at 2685 Marine Way. The pieces have to be moved by sometime this summer because the property was sold following the death of family patriarch Frank Golzen.
Golzen, a German immigrant and real estate developer who had originally purchased the sections shortly after the wall fell in 1989, wrote the plaque that accompanies them called, "A tribute to American resolve."
While city staff members had ranked Pioneer Park as the best location in rterms of visibility, security and aesthetics, council members Jac Siegel, John McAlister, Ronit Bryant and Margaret Abe-Koga opposed that idea.
It would mean "squeezing it into an already busy park," said member Abe-Koga.
"I don't want to take up any park space with it," Siegel said. "I think that would be absolutely wrong."
Bryant added, "If you look at them objectively, they are two very large pieces of ugly cement. What you put in a park is a tree or plant or an object of beauty."
The City's Visual Arts Committee found Charleston Park its favorite location, calling it a "tranquil" place that needed art, according to a report.
"My first choice is Charleston Park," McAlister said. "There's going to be quite a bit of activity out there with Google. And there is security all over the place."
Council member Siegel said it wouldn't be fair to most of Mountain View to place the sections out in North Bayshore by Google. It was also noted that Charleston Park doesn't appear to be a public park because it is surrounded by office buildings.
"When we look at this again I think we'll find the transit center is a good place to go," Siegel said.
City staff recommend a protective film or plexiglass case around the sections to prevent graffiti.
Addressing that concern, Visual Arts Committee chair Chris Parkinson noted that there would be a plaque explaining the history of the sections.
"The taggers are not going to read that," said council member Jac Siegel. "That's a big concern of mine."
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