Around Town: AbilityPath Opens Outdoor Community Courtyard | New

In the last column, read news about a groundbreaking ceremony for AbilityPath’s new outdoor courtyard in Palo Alto, the city council’s support for the construction of a skate park and a new outdoor skating rink in East Palo Alto .

MAJOR IMPROVEMENT… From a petanque court to gardens, the new outdoor courtyard of AbilityPathThe Middlefield Road campus in Palo Alto opens up new opportunities for people with disabilities and their families.

Community members gathered Tuesday for a ceremony celebrating the newly renovated area, which was funded by Santa Clara County grants and private donors. The courtyard also includes an ADA-compliant drop-off entrance and a stage for events.

Community members can look forward to another upcoming amenity for the space: a commercial kitchen for those building their experience in the culinary arts and hospitality industry with the help of Ada’s Coffee. The cafe, which employs people with disabilities, plans to use the kitchen for its catering services and help establish its new jam and granola business, said the founder and executive director of Ada’s Cafe. Kathleen Foley-Hughes said in a Press release. AbilityPath also plans to use the kitchen for independent living classes for people with disabilities.

“This new event space creates an incredible new opportunity for the people we serve to work on-site, while raising awareness in the wider community about our mission and inclusive employment,” said AbilityPath CEO. Bryan Neider said in a statement.

Neider was joined by the county supervisor Joe Simitian, whose district includes Palo Alto, as the ceremonial blue ribbon was cut. “With businesses competing for talent in a limited labor pool, adults of all abilities are a valuable resource for local businesses looking to meet staffing needs,” Simitian said.

GO FORWARD… A grassroots effort by a Palo Alto student to build a new skatepark got a boost this week, when the city council unanimously backed the project, clearing the way for fundraising to begin.

The project is the idea of Sam Kaplinskywho launched a petition two years ago in favor of a new skate park which collected more than 2,000 signatures. With growing support, board members Alison Cormack and Greg Tanaka issued a note last year, endorsing the project and supporting further evaluation.

Last month, the Parks and Recreation Commission recommended moving forward with the project at Greer Parkwhere new skateboarding features will complement the existing “bowl”.

Many commissioners have said they would like to see the project begin as soon as possible. “This is a wonderful example of the ability of our young people to take action in our city and to feel free to take action,” said the vice-president of the commission. Jeff LaMere said before the vote. “And I think this is an incredible example of that.”

Monday’s council vote is just the beginning, however. The project is expected to cost more than $1 million, with funds coming mostly from private donations. The non-profit group Palo Alto Parks Friends will lead the fundraising effort.

WINTER ALREADY? … Fall has set in across the Bay Area, where the air is getting cooler, fall leaves are plentiful, and Halloween and Thanksgiving are right around the corner. But anyone yearning for a winter wonderland sooner rather than later needn’t go far.

The Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley in East Palo Alto opened its new synthetic ice rink earlier this month at B After Village==. The winter-themed pop-up can be found on the outdoor terrace of quattro, the hotel’s bar-restaurant. Four Seasons bills the skating space as “the only outdoor skating rink in a Silicon Valley hotel,” according to a Press release. The winter scene comes alive with snowfall at the ice rink where each skate session lasts 45 minutes. There are also rustic wooden chalets, fire tables and well-lit alpine trees to set the mood.

The village and rink are open to the public from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday until February 25, but the event will be canceled in the event of rain. Skating is open to adults and children from 3 to 12 years old, provided they are accompanied by an adult. For more information, including prices and how to make reservations, visit

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