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$2.6-Million Renovation of Roxbury Center Approved

Times Staff Writer

The Beverly Hills City Council has approved a $2.6-million renovation of the community center in Roxbury Park, a brick-and-concrete complex that serves more than 300 people a day.

“We have great programs and a great staff, but not a great building,” Director Carolyn Greene said.

The center, which was built in the mid-1950s, will look about the same from the street, but “we know this will be a much more attractive facility,” Greene said after Tuesday night’s 5-0 vote approving renovation.

Decades of use have uncovered drawbacks at the Roxbury Park Recreation Center, on Olympic Boulevard just east of Century City. Greene said the center lacks storage space, its rooms are not easily converted from one use to another, and there are no private offices for confidential interviews.

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Additions, Expansions

Plans call for a new seniors’ lounge, a new kitchen, more office space, modernized restrooms, an expanded library and renovation of the auditorium to allow for more seating.

A staff report said the goal is “in general, (to) upgrade and improve the overall efficiency, ambiance and aesthetics of the facility, creating a warmer and more inviting facility for the senior citizens and other community center users.”

All of the rooms will be redecorated, and glass doors will replace the roll-up steel barriers that now close off the facility at night. The addition of two storage sheds will free several rooms for more hours of use.

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Concrete benches, barriers and tree planters in the central courtyard will be removed to make more room for the musical performances and play readings that are popular among park patrons.

The project, initially scheduled for 1977, was delayed after Proposition 13 was proposed. In 1978, a statewide vote on the measure resulted in a drastic cut of revenue for local governments.

Renovation at that time was cut back to include little more than installation of a new roof.

Cost of the project is estimated at just under $2 million, with another $635,000 allocated for other costs, such as the rental of trailers so the center can continue its programs during the half-year construction period.

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Card tables and folding chairs for the retirees’ daily gin rummy games will be available at the tennis clubhouse on the corner of Roxbury Drive and Olympic Boulevard, Greene said.

Classes Offered

In addition to activities and services for older people, including a hot lunch, the center also offers classes for parents and toddlers, arts, dance and gymnastics for young people and aerobics, social dance and kung fu instruction for adults. Some of the services are restricted to Beverly Hills residents.

Although some users suggested that the building be torn down and replaced with a new, larger facility, city staffers said this would only strain the capacity of Roxbury Park, which was originally designed as a neighborhood amenity.

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“Through the course of time . . . changing use patterns, urban development and a more mobile society have forced Roxbury Park to serve more as a ‘community,’ and in many instances a ‘regional,’ park facility,” Richard Putnam, director of recreation and parks, said in a report to the City Council.

He said a new building would attract more patrons, put a further strain on parking and “only add to an already maximum-utilized park facility.”


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