Published in the May 25 – June 7, 2016 issue of Morgan Hill Life

New downtown parking garage officially opens

Morgan Hill’s long awaited downtown parking garage is now open and available for public use. It has more than 270 free parking spaces, unique public art, electric vehicle charging stations, and a roof top built to hold celebrations.

City Manager Steve Rymer thanked the community for its patience and understanding in the delay of the garage opening as final details were worked out between the contractor and the state of California.

“F&H Construction has delivered a safe, complete, unique, and quality parking garage to the Morgan Hill community. We are very pleased to present the garage to the our residents, businesses, and visitors,” he said.

“The one-of-a-kind poppy jasper inspired stairwell glass enclosure and tarantula will be illuminated every evening,” said Maureen Tobin, the city’s communication and engagement manager. “The illuminated art on the north and south sides of the parking garage is quite spectacular in the evening, adding a significant sparkle to the new lighting effects throughout Morgan Hill’s downtown.”

A community celebration of all the completed Downtown Placemaking Investment Projects, including the parking garage, is being planned for the near future.

Diocese buys land in Gilroy, will ask LAFCO to annex MH land for high school

The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose recently acquired an 18-acre parcel in north Gilroy where it might build a second church perhaps with a school attached, officials said.

Liz Sullivan, director of communications for the diocese, said St. Mary’s, the current Catholic church in Gilroy, is growing and a second parish is needed.

The diocese has been trying to build a Catholic high school in southern Santa Clara County for some time, and acquired about 40 acres in farmland southeast of Morgan Hill for that purpose. But it’s been unable to build anything on it because the Santa Clara Local Agency Formation Commission has resisted bringing it into Morgan Hill’s city limits, a prerequisite for development.

However, the San Jose Diocese will get a chance to plead its case June 1 in front of LAFCO. The Diocese asked the seven-member board to reconsider the annexation after it was rejected as part of the larger Southeast Quadrant proposal March 11. That project included a sports-recreation-leisure district, an agricultural mitigation program and the inclusion of about 215 acres into the city limits.

After the first vote on the full SEQ project failed 5-2, the commission was asked to annex only the property where the private high school is proposed. That motion failed 4-3, based on LAFCO staff’s argument that there was no environmental study dedicated solely on the 40-acre project.

Order of Eastern Star celebrates 100 years in MH

On May 9, a Masonic-affiliated organization, The Order of the Eastern Star, celebrated its 100th anniversary in Morgan Hill. Chartered in 1916, it is one of the world’s oldest co-ed fraternal organization, and its members participate in many civic and charitable functions.

For the past four years, South Valley Lodge #187, Free and Accepted Masons, has awarded scholarships to one student at each of the four local high schools and will do so at award ceremonies in June.

“These awards are focused on worthy students seeking to attend a local community college,” South Valley Lodge member Steve Chase said.
A member of the lodge will attend each school’s award ceremony and present the scholarship.

In the April meeting of the Library, Culture and Arts Commission, the lodge volunteered and agreed to assume the maintenance of the bronze statuary in the city. The lodge will provide the labor and material to clean and protect the statues twice a year.

Water District passes $524 million budget

The Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors this month adopted a balanced budget for the coming fiscal year starting July 1.

The $524.4 million budget includes capital expenditures of $240.7 million and operations expenses of $283.7 million. The total budget is $46.4 million larger than last year’s, due mostly to funds carried forward from last year’s capital projects and other increases in the capital budget, reflecting the fact that many capital projects are successfully entering the construction phase.

Measure A to invest tax revenue in county park system

Measure A will be on the Santa Clara County ballot on the June 7 election. It sets aside a percentage of existing tax revenue toward the county’s Parks Charter Fund to be invested in maintaining and improving our county parks.

The Parks Charter Fund, first established in 1972, will annually set aside 1.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation of all property tax for the next 15 years to ensure our county parks are maintained and improved to accommodate the county’s growing population. This is an increase from the current 1.425 cents.

During the past 42 years, the Santa Clara County’s Park Charter Fund has secured money in the county budget to create and maintain a regional park system of 29 parks, comprising more than 50,000 acres.

– By Staff Reports