Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 5:30 pm | Fair 62º


Parks and Recreation Commission Reviews Goleta Valley Community Center’s Future

The commission gave its initial recommendations on what programming it would like to see at the Community Center

Goleta city leaders are considering the future of the Goleta Valley Community Center as they plan for short-term and long-term repairs and improvements to the facility.
Goleta city leaders are considering the future of the Goleta Valley Community Center as they plan for short-term and long-term repairs and improvements to the facility.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

The Goleta Parks and Recreation Commission heard an update Wednesday on the Goleta Valley Community Center’s renovation and repair needs.

In its review, city staff also presented a variety of potential new facilities that the Community Center could eventually accommodate.

The city has owned the Community Center since 2013 and has acted as its landlord since its incorporation 14 years ago. The seven-acre Community Center was founded in 1927 as Goleta Union School.

Due to the building's age, numerous health and safety issues have arisen, which have increasingly demanded City Hall’s attention.

Investigations into the full range of the center’s renovation and repair needs are still underway but so far, studies have revealed an estimated $1.8-million worth of short-term improvements, including parking improvements, structural improvements that address earthquake vulnerabilities, and accessibility improvements.

Long-term improvements include more structural upgrades and repairs, façade work, new safety and technology equipment, and more complete parking lot fixes.

All of the identified long-term capital-improvement needs total an estimated $7.2 million, the city determined.

According to GVCC data, the center sees 90,000 to 120,000 visitors each year, and 61 percent of programming participants are seniors. Another 20 percent are under 18.

Additionally, 56 organizations contract with the GVCC for regular use of its facilities, 82 percent of whom are nonprofits.

The city currently looks after the center’s maintenance and repairs and contributes $25,000 toward senior programming each year. Since 2002, the city has forgiven $470,000 in lease payments.

The eponymously named Goleta Valley Community Center manages the center and the nonprofit primarily deals with providing space for senior activities and leasing space for other organizations. 

With the center’s maintenance and repair costs piling up and increasing in urgency, most city councilmembers expressed their desire for a change in management at a public workshop last month.

Under the council’s direction, staff have started looking for an operator that can ensure the center’s financial viability and reduce the city’s financial contribution. Aside from the status quo or bringing in a third-party to run the place, the city’s only other management option is to take full control of the center.

City staff are in the process of drafting requests for proposals, which would allow other organizations, including the GVCC, to bid to be the center’s management entity.

“The Goleta Valley Community Center is certainly encouraged to participate in that RFP, but it was kind of, ‘Let’s see what’s out there; let’s see if there’s any fresh new ideas as well’,” said senior project manager Claudia Dato. “Or, let’s see what the Community Center comes up with in terms of providing a vision for future additional programming.”

When asked about the current management’s financial viability, Dato admitted that they are not up to snuff.

If a new party is eventually chosen for the job, it would be responsible for “all programming, staff, general maintenance, and subleasing,” according to a city staff report.

One of the programming priorities has been that for seniors, 250 of whom routinely participate in Community Center programming.

“I think we should have some kind of an open minded idea of how the site could be used,” Parks and Recreation Commissioner Anne Linn said.

“I just think it really would be worth every minute of study to try to figure this out, because it will be symbolic of the City of Goleta,” she said. 

“We should really try to maximize (the Community Center’s use) — every square inch of it.”

One of the balances, the commissioners agreed, was continuously supporting long-time Community Center organizations while embracing new facilities.

“I want to advocate for the long-time nonprofits who are dedicated to serving those groups of Goleta residents in need,” Commissioner Daryl West said. “And I think it would be sad if we move forward with trying to make them find a new home.”

Commissioner Kyle Richards agreed.

“We don’t want to displace people, and we want to honor the good work and what’s happening there already,” he said. “I think what we want to do is just expand that and allow more opportunity for more programming to happen and to better serve the needs in Old Town and beyond.”

City staff proposed five potential new facilities for the center: a youth soccer field, a new recreation center, a skate park, a swimming pool or aquatic center, and a community garden.

The idea of turning the Community Center into a civic center and new City Hall was recently floated around Council, but a $37 million price tag quickly caused it to be tabled.

Neighborhood services and public safety director Vyto Adomaitis wrote up a matrix tabulating each of the commissioners’ rankings of which facilities they would most like to see go forward.

Five of the six commissioners named a new recreation center as their No. 1 choice, with Chair Gregg Hart listing it as his No. 2 behind the pool/aquatic center. Four other commissioners listed a pool/aquatic center as their second choice. 

The facility-priority matrix, Adomaitis said, will be forward to the City Council as the commission’s recommendations. Council, however, may not act on the recommendations for months while the remaining Community Center studies continue.

West proposed that the commissioners visit the center to see the lay of the land with their own eyes and meet with the center’s directors, to which her colleagues and staff agreed.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >