The space-themed playground at Sunnyvale's Lakewood Park
The Sunnyvale City Council approved conceptual plans for Lakewood Park's renovations, including changing the planned artificial turf to natural grass. Photo by B. Sakura Cannestra.

Sunnyvale is hoping to finalize some of its biggest projects next year, from supporting homeless residents to putting in new sports fields.

Here are some of the top projects the city’s working on:

Emergency family housing

Homelessness is an expansive problem across the Santa Clara County, and Sunnyvale is no exception. The Sunnyvale City Council is reevaluating its contract with HomeFirst after asking for more metrics on five beds the city reserves for its unhoused residents at the San Jose Boccardo Reception Center. The city is working to move those reserved beds to the Sunnyvale Family Shelter, which is owned by the county and operated by HomeFirst.

While the city’s contract with HomeFirst will come back to council for discussion in 2024, the city is exploring other ways to support its unhoused population. Earlier this year, the city carved out money in its budget to hire a homeless services manager, which is still unfilled. Once hired, this person will be working on supportive services, as well as the city’s other goals of establishing overnight warming centers and safe RV parking sites.

The research for this project is listed as concluding in June, including an assessment of the county-run Sunnyvale Family Shelter’s capacity and need for a city-specific shelter. But the project’s timeline is contingent on the hiring of the homeless services manager.

Sunnyvale has about 385 unhoused residents, according to the 2022 point-in-time count, though the tally is considered to be an undercount.

Guaranteed basic income 

Sunnyvale is considering a pilot program to give residents in need monthly checks to help keep their heads above water.

Councilmembers heard options for operating a guaranteed basic income program earlier this year and voiced support for a program to help low-income families stay out of poverty.

City officials have looked into other guaranteed income programs, including one launched last year in neighboring Mountain View, which provides $500 monthly checks to 166 people.

The city plans to iron out the details in the first half of next year, with final preparations expected in June.

New sports facilities

The city’s goals to renovate all 26 parks come with suggestions for a wider array of new sports facilities. The city has a growing population of residents who play pickleball and cricket, and Sunnyvale has been looking for a place to put cricket batting cages.

The recently-renovated Fair Oaks Park has an athletic field striped for cricket, but the field doesn’t fit the shape for a regulation cricket pitch. Ortega Park has a public cricket pitch, but the park’s fields often have a high demand from other sports leagues, such as youth softball and baseball.

City planning documents note Lakewood Park’s pending renovation may present an opportunity for a cricket pitch or pickleball courts, but the city council did not make a decision when confirming the park’s redevelopment plans.

Lakewood library branch

Located next to the Lakewood Park redevelopment will be the construction of Sunnyvale’s first library branch. It will be situated in North Sunnyvale, a historically underserved part of the city.

The city finalized the library’s permits in September and council approval is expected next year. The project is slated for completion by late 2025.

Consolidating mobile apps

Sunnyvale has three separate mobile applications for three different topics—the Sunnyvale Public Library Mobile, Recyclables Right and Street Sweeping. The city is looking to consolidate these apps and possibly transition other online services onto one mobile platform, such as Access Sunnyvale, a resident services platform.

While the app itself isn’t going to be finished next year, city employees hope to have plans finalized for council approval by the end of 2024.

To see the city’s full list of policy priorities or to find more information on the projects listed here, see the city’s study issue site.

Learn more about how to be engaged as the city progresses through these goals next year.

Contact B. Sakura Cannestra at [email protected] or @SakuCannestra on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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