Google's real estate and construction manager John Igoe may have sealed the deal when he said at October's civility roundtable event that "enhancing the environment ... enhancing the wetlands...is the responsibility of the company." And certainly the council has a responsibility to make sure the bridges have an extremely light footprint around the sensitive wetland areas and the creek, which is one of the city's most popular attractions.
In addition, Igoe told the council that there will be a park with public access just south of the new Google campus along the eastern edge of the creek. He added that the company has an obligation in its lease with NASA to have a park there. "It won't be a city park but it will have public access," he said.
Accessibility for police and fire engines to the Google site at NASA Ames, which is inside city limits, was another factor that leans heavily toward approving the bridges. The company's present growth spurt will continue in 2013 when it plans to begin building a 1.2 million-square-foot campus for up to 5,000 employees, as well as possibly 175,000 square feet of housing. The council was told that first responders to fire and medical calls would need four more minutes to reach the property without a bridge. That fact only makes the decision to approve the bridges more compelling, not to mention it would protect some $300,000 a year in county funds tied to crews reaching the scene of an emergency in eight minutes or less.
Certainly Mayor Jac Siegel, who said back in July that the bridges were not compatible with the Stevens Creek Trail, which he called, "Priority 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5," has changed his mind, now saying, "I didn't think I was going to like it but I like it."
"I thought it was going to look overwhelming," Siegel said after taking a look at the architect's renderings.
Finally, by not putting up a roadblock for Google to develop the Ames property, the city could see as much as $700,000 in additional property tax revenue when the project is completed in a few years.
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