2015 COMMUNITY LISTENING CAMPAIGN
From the beginning, the Foundation has been committed to soliciting community input on how the restitution funds can be used to enhance San Bruno. From late April to mid-June 2015, the Foundation conducted an extensive Community Listening Campaign to assist the Board in shaping the Foundation’s direction and activities. Assisted by the Public Dialogue Consortium (PDC), the Campaign engaged the public in conversations related to the assets and needs of the San Bruno community and solicited ideas for how to allocate the restitution funds for the benefit of the entire community.
The Campaign included three large town hall conversations, seven focus groups, one-on-one interviews at community events, an online survey and discussion platform, and a written survey. The Foundation ultimately heard from more than 1,000 community members, who communicated a strong sense of commitment and pride in San Bruno.
At the conclusion of the Campaign, PDC compiled a 15-page report documenting its findings and identifying a series of dominant themes regarding (1) the community’s assets and resources and (2) community needs and suggestions for using the restitution funds to address those needs.
COMMUNITY ASSETS AND RESOURCES
Strong Sense of Community
Participants said that they like San Bruno because it is a strong, close-knit community, populated with friendly people who watch out for each other. This strong sense of community is bolstered by the diversity of the residents and family-friendly activities and events.
Good Location, Access, and Transportation
Participants identified San Bruno’s location as a major asset. The City is uniquely positioned to offer convenient access and transportation to San Francisco, SFO Airport, Silicon Valley/the Peninsula, beaches, and other Bay Area attractions and destinations.
Open Spaces and Parks
Participants clearly said they enjoy the natural beauty and open spaces that San Bruno offers, with San Bruno City Park, the San Andreas trail, and the Sweeney Ridge area of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area emerging as major assets.
COMMUNITY NEEDS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR SPENDING THE RESTITUTION FUNDS
Upgrade and Expand the Library
The San Bruno Public Library is considered a valuable resource that needs to be updated and expanded to meet the evolving needs of the community. The suggested upgrades focused on increasing the size of the library as well as specific features and programming.
Upgrade and Expand the Recreation Center, Gym, and Pool
Participants viewed San Bruno’s Veterans Memorial Recreation Center, which includes a gym, and the City’s public pool – located near each other in San Bruno City Park – as valuable centers for recreation and health in San Bruno. Similar to the library, participants would like to see these assets upgraded, with expanded hours and uses for all ages.
Upgrade and Expand Sports Fields and Programs
Participants expressed pride in San Bruno’s youth sports programs, which are highly regarded and well attended. Participants expressed a desire to increase support for these programs, expand them, upgrade existing playing fields, and build new fields.
Upgrade and Expand Parks and Open Spaces
Participants identified the recreation and health benefits that come from San Bruno’s parks, open spaces, and trails as important community assets. San Bruno City Park is considered an epicenter of the community. Participants expressed a desire to upgrade, expand, and support these assets and ensure that they are ADA-compliant.
Community Meeting Spaces – Use Existing Public Facilities
Participants expressed the need for more community meeting spaces and programs, suggesting that they be connected to an upgraded Library, City Hall, and/or Recreation Center. Together, these centers would offer space and programming for adults and youth and could help create a vibrant, engaged community for generations to come.
New Multi-Purpose Community Center
Among the many participants who expressed the need for more community meeting spaces, some suggested a new, stand-alone community center.
Downtown Revitalization, Beautification, and Maintenance
Participants expressed the desire for the main downtown area, primarily along San Mateo Avenue and El Camino Real, to be revitalized and developed to become a more vibrant city center that attracts local residents and out-of-town visitors.
Infrastructure Upgrade – For Safety, Growth, and Technology
Participants identified the aging infrastructure of the City as a major need for improvements, suggesting that significant upgrades are needed to ensure safety, to accommodate future growth, and to take advantage of new technologies.
Support and Invest in Schools
Support for the schools was voiced by many participants who said that the schools need resources to improve current facilities, upgrade and acquire new technologies, and provide sufficient staff resources to keep current teachers while attracting new ones.
San Bruno residents spoke about cleaning up and beautifying all areas of San Bruno, not just the downtown corridor.
Youth Programs and Facilities
Participants expressed strong support for youth and young adults, highlighting the need for activities, programs, and facilities that will contribute to their development.
Economic Development Plan for Downtown – Recruit and Attract Businesses
In step with beautification and revitalization of the downtown areas of San Bruno, people expressed the desire for a plan to attract businesses downtown while increasing revenue for the City.
Community Events and Public Awareness
Participants value San Bruno’s strong sense of community and would like to see more events that enhance awareness and participation by creating places for people to gather and build community together.
Social Services and Affordable Housing
Participants suggested the need for additional and more accessible social services and affordable housing opportunities to support disadvantaged groups and individuals in the community.
Integrate Community Resources
Many participants encouraged collaboration across community resources and services, including the development of volunteer programs, as a way to leverage resources and restitution funds while incentivizing community members to help improve the City.
Develop Public-Private Partnerships
Participants suggested that the Foundation and the City partner with businesses and other private entities to leverage funds for various facilities and programs that will benefit the community.
Leverage and Invest the Funds for Future Growth
Participants encouraged the Foundation to leverage and invest the restitution funds for long-term financial growth (in addition to spending some of the money on immediate programs, services, and facilities).