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Publication Date: Friday, November 08, 2002

Future of train station's interior still up in the air Future of train station's interior still up in the air (November 08, 2002)

By Candice Shih

The train depot at Centennial Plaza was finished this week, except for one area: an 800 square-foot space with, so far, no designated use.

During an Oct. 29 study session, the city council discussed the possibilities for the space, which will also include bathrooms and closets in the future. In the original train depot building, this area was used as a ticket office.

Options for the new building include retail, a teen center, a community room, and exhibit space.

As City Manager Kevin Duggan pointed out, "retail is the only suggestion that would net income for the city."

However, concerns were raised regarding the type of retail that would move in. Leasing to a large, national chain with name recognition such as Starbucks would likely draw attention and business to the area, said Joan Jenkins, transportation and policy manager.

But Council member Rosemary Stasek found the idea unappealing and argued that it would be incongruent with the style of the historical train depot. Mayor Sally Lieber agreed that the council would not be favorable to the idea of a chain store in that site, although she would like to see more effort made to recruit unique retail outlets.

The city also suggested allowing the Mountain View Historical Association to use the space for exhibits. In addition, John Rinaldi, a Mountain View resident and member of the Golden Gate Lionel Railroad Club, asked if his club could install a rotating model train display for the room in the new train depot.

Saying it was premature to establish a concrete position on the subject, Stasek was critical of the idea of using the site for exhibits. "I think the location makes it too premium for exhibit space," she said.

The idea of using it for a community room, where classes and meetings would take place, was also brought to the council.

However, the concept met with most favor from council members was that of a teen center.

The city currently operates a teen center on Escuela Avenue which has twice the space of the train depot room. Stasek suggested that both areas could function as teen centers, especially since she has noticed that the current teen center is mostly being used by younger, middle school-aged teenagers.

"Older teens want a place and they want a place downtown," she said. It could resemble a coffee shop or club, she added.

Lieber was also in favor of the idea, adding that a message board with volunteer opportunities could be featured.

Vice Mayor Mike Kasperzak agreed that the city should explore a teen center after it is able to examine the impact of a new teen library program.

The city is under no time constraints to develop and designate use for the room and will not likely do so within the next six months, said Duggan.

Council members Mary Lou Zoglin and Ralph Faravelli were absent from the meeting.
E-mail Candice Shih at


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