Larkspur City Council passes enabling resolutions 5/0

Wednesday, September 19, the Larkspur City Council passed two resolutions 5 votes in favor to 0 in opposition which significantly move The Commons at Larkspur and the new Larkspur Library project forward.

Agenda Item 8.1 Designation of Municipal Advisor and Bond Counsel to assist with the evaluation of two financial matters:

a) Refinancing of City’s Unfunded Accrued Liability (UAL) with the California Public

Employee’s Retirement System (CalPERS).

b) Future ballot measure to finance unfunded capital improvements.

Agenda Item 8.2 8.2 Update on Community Facility Parcel procedures and granting of budget authority for assessing community support for publicly financed project options.

From the Staff Report:

  • Request For Proposals (RFP) for a Schematic Design of a New Library

  • Request For Qualifications (RFQ) for a Mixed-Use Development

  • Assess Community Support for Publicly Financed Project Options

  • Explore Partnerships with Other Public Entities

We wish to thank everyone who attended and sent emails to support the City Council's decisions. We will keep you posted on further developments.

NYTimes: Why Can’t New York City Build More Gems Like This Queens Library?
The new Hunters Point Community Library in New York City.

The new Hunters Point Community Library in New York City.

The New York Times has a insightful piece on the new The Hunters Point Community Library which is “one of the finest public buildings New York has produced this century. But it cost more than $40 million, took a decade and almost died.”

The article is an in-depth look at what it takes to build a great library in New York City and how the Public Library System overcame many obstacles to get it built.

One of the insights from the article is:

“No wonder the golden ticket for many city agencies is the so-called “pass through” contract, which means a project has received ample private funding up front and is being overseen by an organization responsible and competent enough to handle construction itself. A few weeks ago, the New York Public Library unveiled its new Van Cortlandt branch in the Bronx. Library officials made sure to structure the financing to get the pass through.

Construction was completed on time and on budget.”

A second thing to note:

The 22,000 SF building cost $40,000,000 to build or approximately $1,800/SF.

Food for thought.

Larkspur City Council Progress
LLCC Logo - tree only.jpg

Progress is being made on the Larkspur Library Community Center Foundation (LLCCF) mission to fund and build a new modern library for Larkspur.

The City Council Agenda for Wednesday September 18 at 6:30 PM is a significant step forward in realizing a new library for Larkspur. Please look at Item 8.2 which includes:

• Bond Funding to be evaluated;

• Developer Partnership Request For Quote will go out in October with proposals due in January 2020;

• Architectural Request For Proposals for a Schematic Design of a New Library in September with recommendations due in February 2020; and

• Government Partnerships – not started yet.

Please either attend the meeting and speak, or send an email today to our Mayor or our City Manager, encouraging the City Council to take these steps forward and asking them to accelerate the process for evaluating funding options and selecting a path forward for the City.

PBS News Hour: How a group of Syrian residents assembled a secret library
Syrian students collecting books from abandoned buildings.

Syrian students collecting books from abandoned buildings.

Watch this PBS News Hour segment on a secret Syrian library.

“In August of 2016, after four years of bombings, death and destruction in Daraya, Syria, rebel forces and the Syrian government agreed to a cease fire.

Thousands of fighters and civilians were evacuated and relocated, leaving behind shattered homes and buildings in ruins. But underneath that rubble, in an abandoned basement, lay a hidden treasure: a secret library filled with thousands of books salvaged during the ravages of war by residents who risked their lives to save them.”

The books were collected from bombed out houses by students and former students.  The library was then secretly opened in an abandoned bombed out building’s basement.

This is an inspiring story from today’s news on how libraries help communities and individuals.

LLCCF Recommendation to City Council
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On Wednesday, August 14, the Larkspur Library Community Center Foundation (LLCCF) presented an update to the City Council in a workshop devoted to the City’s unfunded capital improvement projects.

We covered an update on the LLCCF, the feasibility of fundraising for the library community center project, and what we, the city and the LLCCF, need to do to make this partnership successful.

The net of the Feasibility Study and the recommendation to the City is:

• The City and LLCCF need to address the issues raised in the study regarding the case statement and the partnership

• Phase the construction

• Build a modern library and The Commons outdoor gathering space and parking

• $12.5M Budget

• LLCCF will raise $5M and the City will contribute $7.5M to the project

We would like to have the opportunity to brief everyone who has been involved in the LLCC Foundation on these developments and next steps. We have arranged for two meetings the first week of September:

Tuesday September 3, 10:30 am

CMPA Headquarters, Community Room, 250 Doherty Drive, Larkspur


Monday September 9, 5:30pm

CMPA Headquarters, Community Room, 250 Doherty Drive, Larkspur

Please let us know which if the two meeting you can attend. This will be a short presentation of the Feasibility Study findings to date and then discussion. We expect the meetings will take about an hour.

NY Times: Where Libraries are the Tourist Attractions
New Austin Texas Public Library.

New Austin Texas Public Library.

Libraries are having a moment. In the past few years dozens have opened across the world, resembling nothing like the book-depot versions from the past…

To attract visitors from home and abroad, many libraries have advanced, even quirky amenities. They have rooftop gardens, public parks, verandas, play spaces, teen centers, movie theaters, gaming rooms, art galleries, restaurants and more.”

New LLCC Foundation Sign Coming Soon
Prototype sign for the Rose Lane Property.

Prototype sign for the Rose Lane Property.

Location for new LLCC Foundation Sign

Location for new LLCC Foundation Sign

We will be putting up a 4’x6’ sign at the Rose Lane property soon announcing that this is the future home of the Commons at Larkspur and the Larkspur Library Community Center.

Watch for an announcement. We plan to have a public event for the unveiling of the sign soon.

City Council Meeting on Unfunded Infrastructure projects on Wednesday August 14 at 5 PM
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The City Council is holding a Study Session on Wednesday, August 14 starting at 5 PM regarding the Unfunded Infrastructure projects in the Adopted Capital Improvement Plan.

“This study session is for the Council to review and discuss with staff. While general direction may be given to staff, the Council will not make specific decisions or take any actions. The Council may direct the City Manager to place specific topics and items on the agenda of future, regular Council meetings.”

After the 30 minute dinner break, the Larkspur Library Community Center Foundation will be meeting with the Council regarding the Community Facility Parcel at Rose Lane.

The agenda and staff report are available here.

August 2019 Fundraising Update

A brief overview of our fundraising status:

The LLCC Foundation has raised $280,000 in cash and in-kind donations since December 2018, and has a cash balance of $213,280 as of 8/12/19.

Partnership Resources Group, a profession fundraising consulting firm, is in the final stages of conducting interviews for the Fundraising Feasibility Study. We anticipate the interviews being completed in September. The Study is being done to:

  • Assess feasibility of $25M campaign

  • Devise capital fundraising strategy

  • Identify and cultivate early major donor interest

  • Recommend implementation program

We will update you all when we get the results and thank you for your support.

June 2019 Update
LLCC Foundation Board at Bon Air Center

LLCC Foundation Board at Bon Air Center

Just an update on The Commons at Larkspur and the Larkspur Library Community Center Foundation's (LLCCF) progress -


We have raised $250,000 and retained Elliot Levin and Partnership Resources Group to conduct a fundraising feasibility study. The study is in process and we expect results later this summer.

City of Larkspur

We have a working group comprised of the City’s Mayor Ann Morrison, Council Member Kevin Haroff, City Manager Dan Schwarz, and the LLCCF Board that meets monthly to coordinate the public-private partnership.

Community Relations

We have recruited Armelle Futterman to manage our Community Relations. She has organized and held 5 small group meetings in different neighborhoods (Palm Hill, Lark Court/Larkspur, Rose Lane, and Scott Place/Greenbrae). At these meetings, we meet with neighbors in groups of 6-12 to explain where we are in the process and solicit input and support.

Many thanks to Lori Lerner and Terry Berkemeier, Jan and Bob Ginsberg, Dyan and Peter Pike and Gabe Gesmer for hosting these events.

If you are interested in hosting or attending a small group meeting please contact us through our website.

Education Relations

We have recruited Kristin Abbott to manage our outreach program to schools, districts and parent organizations. She is beginning to set up meetings for us to introduce the LLCCF and our project to different leaders and groups.

Government Relations

We have held meetings with selected state and county elected and government officials to introduce the LLCCF.

Business Relations

We have joined the Larkspur Chamber of Commerce. In addition, we will be meeting with various business groups to introduce the LLCCF and solicit input and support.


We have a website, have appeared in the Marin IJ, and are building out our social media presence on Facebook with other platforms coming soon.

Redwood High School Architecture Competition Exhibition and Awards Ceremony
Competition invitation.jpeg

The Redwood High School Architecture class will be displaying their drawings and models of a new Commons at Larkspur and a new Larkspur Library Community Center.

The project judges will evaluate the projects in terms of such categories as Best Overall Project, "Friendliest" Neighbor, Best Library Design, Most Sustainable, Most Creative Use of Materials, etc. The program for friends, family and the general public begins at 5 when the award recipients will be announced.

Where: Community Room, Central Police Authority Headquarters, 250 Doherty Drive, Larkspur

Date: Wednesday May 29

Time: 5 -6 pm

Successful Seedling Campaign Donor Event

On April 23 we hosted our first Seedling Fund event for donors to the LLCC Foundation's Seedling Fund. 30 people attended and organizations represented included: City Council members, City of Larkspur, Larkspur Community Foundation, Friends of the Library, Library Board of Trustees, Parks and Recreation Commission and the Library Foundation. Thank you all for your support.

Seedling Campaign Successful, Small Group Meetings Starting Up
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Fundraising Exceeds Seedling Campaign Goal

We have met and exceeded our goal for the Seedling Campaign. Total funds raised is $257,023 (including the city's second $50,000 matching grant.) Many thanks to our donors and the foundations who gave us grant funds.

Small Groups Meeting Program

We are beginning a Small Groups Meeting Program to reach out to small groups of friends in the five cities: Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross and Corte Madera. Our goal is to meet with people on The Commons at Larkspur and the LLCC Foundation to bring them up to date on our progress and plans and listen to their input.

Would you be interested in hosting such an event? Please volunteer here and we will contact you.

Completing the Seedling Campaign
California Super Bloom 2019. Photo by N. Clark

California Super Bloom 2019. Photo by N. Clark

The LLCC Foundation is very close to meeting our 2019 goal and receiving the second $50,000 matching grant from the City of Larkspur. We need to raise the final $6,761 to receive the matching grant.

The Seedling Campaign was launched in December 2018 to pay for the first year of fundraising, architecture, legal and communications costs for the new Larkspur Library Community Center. To date the Seedling Campaign has raised $193,239 of the $212,640 goal.

Seedling donors will receive special recognition as founding contributors. We will keep you updated on our progress in bringing The Commons to life. We will be ending our Seedling campaign on April 15th, and are hosting a Seedling donor thank-you event on April 23rd.

Will you please help us to reach that goal? If you have not yet given, please consider a gift, and if you have given already please consider an additional gift to help us reach our goal.


Marin IJ, Larkspur volunteer leads campaign for city commons

By MARYANN JONES THOMPSON | | Marin Independent Journal

PUBLISHED: March 17, 2019 at 12:43 pm | UPDATED: March 17, 2019 at 12:45 pm

Larkspur resident Joe Jennings has stepped up to do what nobody has been able to do despite 50 years of trying: build a new city library.

Jennings says he envisioned the project’s potential when walking St. Francis Way, from Assisi to Rome, with his wife Marisa. Along the ancient route, every town he entered had a piazza where the old, young and in-between gathered.

Larkspur Library Foundation provides $25,000 Grant for the LLCC Foundation

Larry Lanctot, the president, on behalf of the Larkspur Library Foundation Board of Directors, notified the LLCC Foundation that we will be receiving a $25,000 grant, payable over 5 months, for the capital campaign.

Library Foundation Board members include: Kristi Ellenzweig, Jim Hunnewell, Larry R. Lanctot, Lois Patton, AJ Rea, Paul Straub, Nick Tarlson, and Philip Terry.

This will bring total funds raised by the LLCC Foundation to $188,059 and leaves us just $11,911 short of the additional $50,000 needed to get an additional $50,000 grant from the City.

Many thanks to the members of the Library Foundation board and to Task Force members, Paul Straub and AJ Rea, for shepherding this grant through their process.

If you know of anyone who intends to give money to the LLCC Foundation please let them know the Seedling Campaign ends at the end of the month, and it is vitally important that we complete this round to collect the additional $50,000 from the City. In essence giving now doubles the impact of a gift.

Good News from the Larkspur Community Foundation

The LLCC Foundation today was notified that we have received a grant. Joan Lundstrom, Secretary, wrote "I am pleased to let you know that the Larkspur Community Foundation (LCF) at yesterday's (March 5) Board meeting, approved a $2,500.00 grant to the Larkspur Library Community Center Foundation for startup costs associated with fundraising and architecture to the Center. We are pleased to help provide initial "seed" money for this exciting community project."

Background on the LCF

The Larkspur Community Foundation was created in 2013 by local residents to support projects and activities that sustain Larkspur’s historic small town character and enhance the community’s quality of life now and in the future. The foundation seeks to engage the greater Larkspur community in philanthropic and volunteer opportunities, thus expanding charitable giving and volunteer activity.

The Larkspur Community Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) California public benefit nonprofit corporation. All donations are fully tax-deductible.

Thank you so much to the LCF and their Board!