Aptos Branch Library to reopen in February

A reopening celebration is planned at the Aptos Branch Library 1-5 p.m. Feb. 4. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local)

The Aptos Branch Library is set to reopen with a Feb. 4 celebration event with live music, speeches and library activities. 

A $14 million, 12,408-square-foot project started at the library at 7695 Soquel Drive in May 2022. It now has a community room, teen-only space and patio, an adult reading room and patio, two group study rooms, a children’s room, a children’s reading garden and displays from the Aptos History Museum. 

The 2016, county voter-approved Measure S bond measure paid for the project along with $496,342 raised by Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries. Measure S also paid for renovations and construction at several other Santa Cruz public libraries.

After the Feb. 4 event, the Aptos Branch Library’s hours are expected to be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. 

—Stephen Baxter

Patios and a community room are part of the new Aptos Branch Library. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local)

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Midtown, downtown plans to be discussed

A block party features live music near Soquel and Seabright avenues in August. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local file)

12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23 / Online and at 809 Center St., Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz City Council on Jan. 23 is set to discuss ways to boost business in downtown and midtown, potentially with a new midtown business improvement district. 

The council adopted an economic development strategy update in March 2021 that aimed to bolster consumer spending and reduce vacant downtown storefronts. More downtown businesses have opened since 2021 than had closed during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, according to a staff report. “Downtown is experiencing a true revitalization,” the report stated.

City staff recommended:

  • Creating an improvement district in midtown to raise money for marketing and local events.
  • Adding more features for pedestrians on Pacific Avenue, such as interactive public art or childrens’ play areas.
  • Continuing efforts toward new uses for the downtown library building at 224 Church St. after construction of a new downtown library.

—Jesse Kathan

Climate plan updates on tap

At its Jan. 23 meeting, the Santa Cruz City Council is slated to hear an update on the city’s progress towards reducing carbon emissions. 

In 2022, city leaders approved the Climate Action Program, which aims to reduce the city’s carbon emissions by 40% by 2030. The city has made progress on some goals in the plan, and it is more than halfway towards its target to reduce organic waste, according to a city staff report.

Transportation emissions rose over the past year, as a greater percentage of people traveled by car rather than walking, biking or taking the bus, according to the report. That trend may reverse as Santa Cruz Metro expands service, the report stated.

In other news, the Santa Cruz City Council is expected to:

  • Discuss a Santa Cruz police request to purchase up to five drones to document crime scenes and find suspects, among other uses. The drones have high-resolution cameras, heat detecting cameras and microphones. They would not be used with facial recognition software, according to a city staff report.
  • Push back planned repairs to the Murray Street Bridge until August or September. A contractor’s offer to repair the bridge was more than twice the city’s estimated cost, according to a report. City staff hope to find a company to complete the job at a lower price.

—Jesse Kathan

To participate: Join on Zoom or call 833-548-0276, meeting ID  946 8440 1344. To comment ahead of the meeting, email [email protected] by 5 p.m. Monday. The meeting will be streamed on Community TV.


Capitola Wharf project to receive state money

The Capitola Wharf sustained further damage in storms in late December 2023.

Storms delayed repairs to the Capitola Wharf in December. (Jesse Kathan — Santa Cruz Local file)

6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25 / Online and at 420 Capitola Ave., Capitola

At its Jan. 25 meeting, the Capitola City Council plans to:

  • Accept $500,000 in state grants to repair the Capitola Wharf from storm damage and reinforce parts that are vulnerable to future storms. The Capitola Wharf Resiliency Project budget is expected to be $9.4 million with the new money.
  • Review and provide feedback on a 93-unit senior living facility proposed at 3720 Capitola Road and 1610 Bulb Ave. The project would require annexing the Bulb Avenue property into Capitola city limits.
  • Accept $1 million from state authorities to improve the Capitola Community Center at Jade Street Park.
  • Receive a report from a hotel tax audit that found three hotels had underpaid $31,503 in taxes from January 2020 to July 2023. The council can decide whether to charge the hotel owners with penalties and interest.

—Nik Altenberg

To participate: Join in person, on Zoom or call 669-900-6833, meeting ID 833 2817 3113 and passcode 678550. To comment ahead of the meeting, email [email protected] by 5 p.m. Wednesday. The meeting will be broadcast on Spectrum Cable Television channel 8.

Santa Cruz Local journalists wrote these briefs and previews for our weekly newsletter. Want to receive these local updates, a preview of recent articles and more in your inbox each Sunday? Sign up for our free newsletter.

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Stephen Baxter is a co-founder and editor of Santa Cruz Local. He covers Santa Cruz County government.

Reporter / California Local News Fellow

Jesse Kathan is a staff reporter for Santa Cruz Local through the California Local News Fellowship. They hold a master's degree in science communications from UC Santa Cruz.

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Nik Altenberg is a copy editor and fact checker for Santa Cruz Local. Altenberg has a bachelor’s in Latin American and Latinx Studies from UC Santa Cruz.