Newark City Council places Measure GG on the November ballot
The City Council has put forward a vision to address safety and efficiency issues with the City’s antiquated Civic Center which includes the police operations facility, the library, and administrative offices. On July 14, 2016, the City Council voted unanimously to place Measure GG on the November 8, 2016 general election ballot. Measure GG would add a local one-half cent sales tax increase that would fund the replacement of these antiquated and seismically deficient facilities with a modern police operations center, world class library, vibrant public spaces, and efficient accessible City offices. The City Council also adopted a “Resolution of Intent” that established a policy that the revenues generated by Measure GG would be directed towards the replacement of those facilities with any additional funds to be used to improve other City facilities and services. An independent citizen’s oversight committee would be established to insure that the funds are spent appropriately and annual audits would be conducted.
Over the past year, an expert consultant firm, Group 4 Architecture, conducted a detailed study of the existing police operations, library, and administrative facilities and analyzed their potential replacement. Community and stakeholder input was a key part of this process. There were two community meetings held and numerous stakeholder interviews. The effort also included three City Council work sessions which included robust public comment. The study concluded that:
- The existing police facility does not meet existing earthquake safety standards and may not be usable in the event of even a moderate earthquake;
- The library is small and antiquated and does not allow for technological innovation and meeting spaces that are the hallmark of modern libraries.
- There are serious deficiencies in the space and configuration of the existing police and administrative office spaces. New facilities would reduce operating costs and improve service to the public.
- There is an opportunity to co-locate the school district offices for greater efficiency and improved service.
- High quality public buildings and a plaza would help build a sense of community.
- New energy efficient facilities would save substantial funds.
The consultant also studied renovation and enlargement of the existing facilities and it was concluded that the cost would be higher and the efficiency of buildings would be lower than new facilities.
The study also included evaluating various alternate locations for the Civic Center. It was concluded that the new Civic Center should be constructed on the existing Civic Center site. The construction would be phased to allow City operations to continue during construction. The consultants final report can be found on the City’s website at our Civic Center Feasibility Study web page, and click on this link Final Report of Civic Center Feasibility Study - including financial options.
If Measure GG is approved by the voters, the City would proceed with detailed planning for a new Civic Center. The detail design process would include public input and involvement. The outcome would be safe, energy efficient, accessible, and cost-effective facilities for providing the citizens of Newark with the public safety, administrative, cultural and educational services they need. Construction could begin in 2018.