Community Services and Facilities Element

The Community Services and Facilities Element is not a State requirement. It is added to the Comprehensive Plan to reinforce the significance and importance of services like libraries and schools in Palo Alto and the vital role they play in shaping community life.

Palo Alto is a full-service City, with park and recreation divisions and police and fire departments, library and cultural arts programs, and youth, senior and childcare services. In each of these areas, the City is committed to providing responsive customer service for residents and businesses, even going so far in this Element to specify staff management techniques, performance review criteria, and public contact processes in an effort to ensure the quality of service delivery.

The Current Plan: A Solid Foundation

Palo Alto residents have access to a rich array of public services that cater to all ages, cultures, and levels of mobility and education. The City provides a range of direct services to all citizens, and also partners with community organizations and jurisdictions to assist those with disabilities. Palo Altans also have access to cultural and recreational opportunities on the adjacent campus of Stanford University.

The Community Services and Facilities Element calls for maintaining and enhancing all of the services, and it supports the excellent schools run by the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD), an independent local government institution separate from the City of Palo Alto.

The Community Services and Facilities Element acknowledges that parks and recreational and social services play a significant role in shaping a healthy and dynamic community and calls for the City to encourage and enhance access for all Palo Altans. The Element also recognizes that there are fiscal limits to what the City can provide and calls for collaboration with outside agencies and jurisdictions to fill any service gaps.
The Community Services and Facilities Element provides a solid framework to help the City deliver the services required to meet the needs of the community and add to quality of life in Palo Alto. The majority of its policy themes are expected to be carried forward into Our Palo Alto 2030 to continue to maintain and strengthen public services, including:

  • Providing services that meet the needs of all cultures, ages, and abilities.
  • Meeting fiscal challenges by partnering with other agencies, jurisdictions, non-profits, and businesses.
  • Partnering with PAUSD to maximize the use of school facilities for community use during non-school hours.
  • Maintaining parks and facilities so they can be enjoyed by future generations.
  • Ensuring and expanding access to recreational and public services for disabled and low-income residents.
  • Locating public facilities and services near children and seniors.
  • Expanding new parks and community facilities to meet the needs of a growing community.

Our Palo Alto 2030

In light of new issues and trends that have emerged since the adoption of the Comprehensive Plan, the Community Services and Facilities Element in Our Palo Alto 2030 is expected to include major new concepts, including:

  • Advocating for healthy lifestyles for all residents.
  • Helping teens combat depression, isolation, stress, and other mental health issues.
  • Expanding programs to engage seniors in the community.
  • Encouraging universal access to parks, public places, and community facilities.
  • Carrying out the recommendations of the Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Committee regarding the potential need for new and/or upgraded public facilities.

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Vision Statement

This generation must invest in the people, places, programs, and environment of Palo Alto to ensure that the quality and vitality of community services and facilities are present and responsive to the generations to come.

Click here to view the current Community Services and Facilities Element.