Council to consider new site for youth club

Lang Park Community Center will be considered as an expansion option for The Laguna Club for Kids program, which has outgrown its site adjacent to Bluebird Park.

The City Council approved a request from Boys & Girls Club officials for the evaluation. The center could accommodate the 25 children in kindergarten through third grade on the TLC waiting list. The council also extended the TLC lease on the building adjacent to Bluebird Park for 10 more years and approved a second 10-year renewal option.

"We serve 80 kids a day and have a waiting list of 25," said Pam Estes, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club, which assumed the TLC lease in 2005.

Councilman Robert Whalen, former president of the Boys & Girls Club, said Estes was being modest.

"Sometimes it's 100 a day," he said. "If it could expand to Lang Park, it would help South Laguna parents."

Lang Park is on Wesley Street across from Albertson's Market, where the Aliso School was once located. It is near Vista Aliso, a low-income senior housing development.

The community center is tucked behind the park and parking lot and is underutilized, according to Ben Siegel, director of community services for the city.

Siegel advised the council that activities at the center are limited, mostly because the facility is not staffed. He said city staff could see the potential for several benefits to the community, based on conversations with the Boys & Girls officials, notably the improved utilization and expanded programming at the center and the club on Laguna Canyon Frontage Road.

Staff will review the club's proposal, including programs, activities, staffing, enrollment, hours of operation, parking and potential effects on existing activities at the center.

If the proposed use of the center appears feasible, staff will prepare a lease to be presented to the council this summer before the 2013-14 school year begins, Siegel said.

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