Community and Economic Recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant impacts on all communities. In Palo Alto, City Council originally provided direction by adopting Community and Economic Recovery as one of four Council priorities at its annual retreat on January 30, 2021 with a resulting work plan adopted in March 22, 2021. Since then, the City has made tremendous strides to accomplish most of the work plan, with other items in the works.

As part of the 2022 priorities setting, which took place February 5, 2022, City Council adopted four revised priorities, two of which are Economic Recovery and Transition and Community Health and Safety, which closely align with this original 2021 priority. Work plan adaptation to these priorities will be considered in the coming months. Learn more about City Council Priorities for 2022.

Focus Areas

The workplan splits 11 discrete work items into four different focus areas:  

  • Manage through the pandemic
  • Community Wellness and wellbeing
  • Focused Business Support
  • Citywide Priority Initiatives

Manage through the pandemic

This focus area includes work items related to the immediate needs of the community and the organization to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and the commensurate impacts. Work items in this area include: 

Manage through the pandemic

This includes the ongoing work to continue to provide City Services even through shelter-in-place restrictions and ensure that the community and employees remain safe.

Continue high volume public communications and enhanced community engagement

The City has maintained high-volume public communications throughout the pandemic to keep the community up-to-date on ever evolving public health ordinances and changes to COVID-19 case rates. Here are some ways to stay up-to-date:

Comprehensive and Dynamic workplace activation plan

The City released this plan as an informational memorandum to City Council on April 5, 2021. View the workplace activation plan(PDF, 1MB).

Community Wellness and Well-Being

Supporting community wellness and well-being through the development of a series of community events, presentations, and engagement opportunities is the work under this focus area.

Explore and find upcoming wellness events

Focused Business Support

Continue Uplift Local and other retail supportive strategies

Uplift Local is a council-supported effort that connects the community with outdoor activities.

Provide technical support for environmental upgrades to local businesses

The City is working to provide technical support for workplace environmental upgrades to local businesses in partnership with a consultant. Staff is using a variety of marketing tools to promote the program to reach as many local businesses as possible. 

Refine the City’s economic support activities

The City has conducted a search for an economic support consultant to assist in the refinement of the scope and breadth of the City’s economic support activities and anticipates discussing this with the City Council in June 2021.

City Priority Initiatives

Accelerate Fiber-to-the-Home and pursue expanded community engagement

As a result of the pandemic, the importance of affordable, fast, and reliable broadband service at homes and businesses became more apparent for telework, remote learning, telemedicine, and E-commerce. City Council is looking to accelerate the Fiber-to-the-Home project in order to bring faster broadband internet to more people in Palo Alto. Phases one and three of this project will be discussed with the Utilities Advisory Commission on April 21 and then with the City Council in May. More information can be found in CMR 12118 - Fiber Network Expansion Project(PDF, 3MB). Council has approved $200k for this work task.

Create a Downtown redesign to allow for flexible closures

The City is developing potential street configurations and improvements that would allow for flexible closures of blocks along University Avenue and provide additional outdoor space for businesses. Council has allocated $150k to this project for design work only.

Explore potential ballot measures

The City anticipates discussing potential ballot measures with the Finance Committee before the end of the current fiscal year (June 2021). Potential ballot measures include options ranging from a business tax, previously discussed with the City Council prior to COVID-19, options for raising revenue to allocate to housing, to exploring revenues for services. 

Create a Foothills Fire Protection Plan

At the direction of Council, staff will initiate and return with recommendations for a new Foothills Fire Protection Plan and the required resources. Staff from various departments will continue internal coordination efforts with a focus on mitigation, planning, detection and warning, coordination, and communication.




City Council Reports on Community and Economic Recovery