By Len Ramirez

SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — An old U.S. Post Office is practically all that’s left of the original downtown Santa Clara.

But if Dan Ondrasek and his supporters get their way, a new downtown could spring up
around it, and anchoring it all could be a new City Hall.

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“We’re not advocating to move City Hall downtown yet. But we know it’s a matter of time before we have to rebuilt City Hall. And this would be an ideal location for that,” Ondrasek said.

10 blocks of Santa Clara’s original downtown were demolished in the mid 1960’s as part of an urban renewal plan.

The old city hall was just one of the many historic buildings lost, and a new city hall was built a mile away on Warburton Avenue.

In place of the old downtown, the city built the Franklin Mall, apartment buildings,
a parking lot and strip malls.

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Ondrasek says other cities where city halls were moved out and then moved back to downtown areas have been successful at jump starting redevelopment.

“After the public investment of a city hall going into downtown, a number of
private investors followed that public investment,” he said.

City Officials were not available for comment, but the idea is getting some
traction in recent study sessions and planning meetings.

“It used to be a quaint old town,” said Sheryl Honig, who remembers visiting downtown as a child. And she likes the idea of getting it back.

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“It gives you good feelings from when you were young,” she said.