Senior center ‘showing its age’

Redwood City’s 58-year-old senior center could be replaced with a new multigenerational facility, according to a proposal currently in the works.

Parks Superintendent Chris Beth said plans for a replacement facility are only in the initial stages for the Veterans Memorial Senior Center.

“We’re looking into it,” Beth said, “but nothing’s been approved.”

The current center — located in the heavily used Red Morton Community Park in the center of the city —consists of three one-story buildings which house a movie theater, multipurpose room, kitchen and small meeting rooms.

“This building has been well loved,” said Bruce Utecht, manager of the senior center. “Sure, we’d love a new place, but where are we going get the money?”

A subcommittee of staff members and members of the city’s Senior Affairs Commission has been researching the possibility of replacing the current senior center with a “state of the art” facility, according to meeting minutes for the commission.

A consultant with the Berkeley-based Sports Management Group has been working with the subcommittee and developed a draft scoping study for the project, according to city documents.

In August, the consultant met with the Senior Affairs Commission as well as the Parks and Recreation Commission to give a presentation and discuss possible aspects of a “multigenerational facility to replace the current VMSC.”

Commissioners were asked to give comments on the proposed project. Responses included concerns that a multigenerational center would lose the current facility’s focus on serving the needs of seniors; support for a larger aquatics center; creating an area for pets; wanting to make sure veterans were honored in any new building; and putting technology opportunities throughout the building and in programs.

Helen Cocco, 79, of Redwood City, uses the current senior center and said a replacement is needed.

“I love the old building, but it’s showing its age,” she said. “I’d love to see something new with all the modern amenities.”

Another center user, Inez Garety, 85, disagreed with the idea.

“I don’t think they need to be wasting money,” she said. “It’s already at a good location. I hope they don’t decide to move it.”

If the project is approved, it could take up 10 years to build — including paper work, design and construction — according to Beth, who based the estimate on the time the city took to complete the new Redwood Shores branch library.

“There are a lot of steps,” he said. “We don’t have a timeline in place at this point.”

Funding for a new center has not been discussed, according to Beth.

 

Replacement facility

Among ideas and suggestions from a consultant and Redwood City’s Senior Affairs Commission for a new facility to replace the city’s current Veterans Memorial Senior Center:

  • Multigenerational facility
  • Day care/child care onsite 
  • Underground parking
  • Larger aquatic center
  • Stage
  • Kitchen
  • Space for large group events: banquets, weddings, etc.
  • Space for volleyball, basketball

Source: Redwood City Senior Affairs Commission

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