TOWN PARK PLAZA
Phase 1: Transformation of a Town-owned site
The old concrete block structure built across from the Community Center in the 1950s was originally a garage for public service vehicles, but in later years it served other purposes that included a teen center, dance classes, and various kinds of offices. As an unreinforced structure that didn’t meet evolving earthquake resistance standards, it was eventually condemned and demolished in 2011. The Town planned to add much-needed parking for the Community Center on the cleared site, although public interest was strongly in favor of it becoming a landscaped plaza with a coffee shop where people could get together with friends. However, there was no funding available in the Town budget for such a project, and the site seemed destined to remain a community blight.
In 2012 the Corte Madera Community Foundation offered to work with the Town on a matching fund basis to make the desired plaza a reality. With local architect Rich Perlstein’s ’pro bono’ help in figuring out what could be done at the site, the Foundation took the lead on planning and coordinating the Town Park Plaza project. The Corte Madera Lions Club, Corte Madera Women's Club, Beautification Committee and Corte Madera-Larkspur Mothers Club gave the project a jump start as major donors. A vigorous public fundraising campaign was launched, and Corte Madera donors responded generously, making it possible to complete the initial phase of Town Park Plaza within just six months.
A local restaurant owner who had long been interested in having a café at the site was able to lease space in the Town-owned Park Madera Center next door, with direct access to the plaza. Café Verde quickly became a popular amenity at this attractive gateway to Town Park.
The second phase of the project features a shade structure constructed in 2018, when additional matching funds from the Town became available.