A series of photos in The Independent shows a sad state of disrepair in the existing Huntington Beach Senior Center.
I'm certain that they engender a feeling of sympathy for the plight of seniors who use its services. This may be exactly what the current management of the center intends. If managers show the bad conditions, the hope may be that readers will be swayed to support the building of a new center.
"Oh no!" you may say. "That's a cynical outlook!" But if this is not the case, then the only possible alternative explanation is that the existing facility is being so poorly managed that it is indeed falling apart.
Is it in the best interest of Huntington Beach to allow an expensive new center to be built, helping to remove forever our few remaining green spaces, only to have the same fate befall it?
Either we are being cunningly manipulated, or there is a current state of facilities management incompetence. Which is it?
Editorial doesn't see whole picture
While I have invariably found Huntington Beach Independent editorials reasoned and responsible, I see the March 4 editorial "We need a new senior center yesterday" as something of a departure.
The editorial all but ignores the sweetheart deals, City Hall intrigue and hijacking of the Pacific City Quimby Act funds that stirred so much opposition to plans to foist upon us a new community facility in Central Park under the guise of it being a new senior center.
The editorial also does not take a close look at what it would take to actually bring plans for the so-called "Palace In The Park" to fruition. The original plans for the "new" senior center were wholly dependent on the windfall of $18 million to $22 million from the Pacific City "in lieu" fees. Now that the take from Pacific City has been reduced to about one third of the hoped-for funds, these original plans need to change.
The Central Park site is no longer feasible. It would take most of the new money to grade and prep the projected new site, this without a clear understanding of the potentially costly environmentals involved. The city made the same mistake with the "new" Sports Complex, which more than tripled or quadrupled original estimates.
There are no bond issues, corporate sponsorships or other fundraising possibilities that would begin to bridge the fiscal chasm this proposed project is facing. The city cannot begin to fund a project like this on its own right now, let alone operate and maintain such a massive facility. It is time for everyone to get real.
If today's seniors and their supporters want improved facilities now, the only prudent course is to refurbish the current Rodgers Senior Center to the tune of several million dollars. The location and surroundings are all adequate. A significant injection of funds could reverse all of the dilapidation the current center's detractors bemoan.
In these troubling economic times, we all must learn to live with lowered expectations, as local homeowners in the current real estate market have been learning. There is no magic wand that will make wishful thinking pay off for the original Palace In The Park concept. The Independent needs to realize this as well as all those clamoring for a fancy new facility.