Clock Tower Proposed for Downtown Hayward

The Hayward Rotary Club proposed to city council Tuesday a 45-foot tall steel clock tower to be built on the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Mission Boulevard. The project would be donated to the city by the rotary and would be funded through private donations.

The three-sided structure will feature an analog clock on two sides of the structure facing the street, as well as two complementing electronic reader boards that will display text messages designated by the city and the rotary club. Designs are preliminary, Rotary President Paul Martin said, and are subject to change.

Councilmember Mark Salinas said he was happy with the location of the structure, saying that it had the potential to designate the area as a central area of community events in the city.

However Mayor Michael Sweeney raised concerns over who would have ultimate control over the message board. He warned that the city should be careful of what precedent it would set for future projects that are donated to the city.

Councilmember Al Mendall shared Sweeney’s concerns. Mendall added that he too was not comfortable with the message this would send to other businesses.

“On what grounds could we justify denying a group we love less than the rotary?” Mendall added.

Former president and architect of the project, Brian Schott, clarified to The Pioneer that the city and the rotary would each have an equal number of messages on the electronic board.

“Basically it’s flashing a message for the city for seven or eight seconds, then time and temperature, then a message for rotary and then time and temperature,” Schott said.

Former public works director and member of the rotary club Dennis Butler said that no matter what the final design is decided upon, the structure would not be a hazard in the event of an earthquake. Butler estimated that it would be designed to withstand a 7.4 earthquake.

“It may look a little top heavy but it’s basically hollow inside, there’s no weight to it and that’s where you have a problem structurally,” Butler said, adding that with the appropriate seismic reinforcements it should not be an issue.

“It would not fall over. It’s better than the Bay Bridge,” Butler laughed.

The rotary clock would be the second planned project to set for construction near the intersection of Foothill and Mission. A memorial to the victims of the 9/11 attacks has been planned to be located near the former city hall, on the corner of Mission and D Street.

Both projects are funded privately; the rotary estimates the clock tower will cost $130,000. 75 percent of those funds have already been raised, Martin said.

The rotary has a history of building structures throughout Hayward, creating the children’s park located near the old City Hall at Giuliani Plaza.

Schott added that he is working with steel businesses in Hayward to provide the materials needed to build the tower. He hopes to have the project started and completed by Christmas.

A picture of the clock tower can be found on the city’s website at: