A month ago, I talked on the phone with Ken Slavens (a past mayor) who now lives in Boise, Idaho. The city had purchased the Daly property on Adams Street for the community of St. Helena. He also talked about the great sale price. I ask him how I can prove what he told me. He told me to go find the minutes from the City Council meeting. Two weeks ago, Tom Belt and I did just that.
My notes from City Council meetings:
-Oct. 24, 2000, the City approved financing for the property: A down payment of $1 million and financing $2 million at 5.5% for the property.
-Oct. 26, 2000, escrow is expected to close Nov. 10, 2000.
-Nov. 14, 2000, different community groups had ideas about the property. A facilitator, Barbara Shaw, was chosen to help put this together. Study Sessions were set-up.
-Dec. 12, 2000, the Council talked about what to do with the vineyard.
-Jan. 29, 2001, Mayor Ken Slavens stated that the purpose of the meeting was to receive community suggestions on what they would like the City to develop on the recently acquired property on Adams Street. A list of possible uses: Ball field, farmers market, picnic area. Cio Perez stated that whatever be developed be for community use. The group created a "vision" for the property.
1. There should be multiple uses of the property.
2. The property should benefit the community and the citizens of Saint Helena.
3. Major considerations should be open space and preserving the beauty of the valley. Many people suggested a buffer zone adjacent to the library.
-March 17, 2001, architect Wayne Leong offered the City his expertise to try to help this matter.
-May 21, 2001, the farmers market area could be used for parking when the market was not operating. Wayne Leong asked if parking was included. Carol Poole, planning director, responded that one acre was included for parking.
-Dec. 11, 2001, City Manager Bonnie Long, summarized that the City had entered into an agreement with Collaborative Design Architects, Inc. for professional services that included a conceptual development program for the 5.6 acres on Adams Street. This is when Tom Belt and I stopped investigating. It appeared to us that the property was purchased for the community and not to sell it at a later date.
I recommend that if you want to know the truth about this property, go to city hall and read the minutes of the meetings and draw your own conclusions.
Jeff Warren talks about this document in his article in the Star, stating that something needs to be named for the generosity of the Daly family. Three weeks ago at the library, I was introduced to Jamie Daly, the son of John and Virginia Daly. Jamie told us that he planted the trees on the property at the corner of Adams and Library Lane. I suggested that the City call this corner "Daly Park" in keeping with St Helena tradition. Hopefully, Jeff Warren will be able to retrieve the written document that confirms the understanding between the Daly family and the City.
Recently the City has considered selling all or part of the property for a hotel. Two years ago, the same idea (selling for development) was discussed and eventually dismissed. Maybe it is time for an initiative when we vote again next year to preserve once and for all the Adams street property for the citizens of St. Helena.