Mailbag: Park location was chosen with seniors in mind

As a member of the board of directors for the Huntington Beach Council on Aging, I carefully read the letter to the editor from Shelly Stone ("Park is no place for the elderly," Mailbag, March 21) and was pleased that she expressed her worries about seniors in the park.

From my reading, I was unable to determine whether Ms. Stone is aware of where the new senior center will be located within the park and the precautions that are being taken to assure the safety of the seniors at the new facility.

I have been involved with the development of the new senior center since the first meeting with the consultants hired by the city and their determination as to where and how big to it should be.

To enlighten Ms. Stone, and others, the new senior center will be located at the far eastern border of Central Park adjacent to Goldenwest Street and Talbert Avenue. It will be situated on 5 acres of the park, in the depression caused by CalTrans removing the dirt to build the 405 Freeway.

Of the 5 acres, 2 acres will be landscaped and open space to provide, among other things, a buffer from other park activities for those who do not wish to venture into the park. Of course, if an individual wishes to venture farther into the park to visit Shipley Nature Center or other park venues, they will have the freedom to make that decision.

The senior center building will have expanded its number of rooms to accommodate the many classes provided by the city to promote health, wellness and lifelong learning for older adults. There will be a dining room for those that come each day for a low-expense noon meal, a computer learning lab, a reading and TV room, places to exercise, and many more areas that provide opportunities for healthy interaction and interesting activities

At the last meeting of the Huntington Beach City Council, it was determined that the Central Park site, which was approved by the voters of Huntington Beach, is the only viable site at this time. It was determined that to rebuild the current site of the Rodgers' Senior Center is too expensive.

Should anyone want more information about the new senior center, I would be pleased to sit and discuss their questions with them. We would meet at the Rodgers' Senior Center for the discussion.

Robert Dettloff

Huntington Beach

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Senior center political football

I am glad to see the H.B. Independent mailbag come out with an opinion in support of a senior center in Central Park ("Time for new senior center," Mailbag, March 7). The opinion reflected the concern of those who voted for the center and its location. They won, and why it isn't being built is a valid concern.

A respondent adequately described the woeful course the city took to put forth the senior center in Central Park. His conclusion that the proposed site is no longer feasible reflects the attitude of some environmentalists. However, it is not a dead issue. The city, and those who voted for it, can stay the course and build a center worthy of our fine city.

My concern is that some environmentalists' desire to preserve open space, regardless of condition, at any social costs, have created a hostile environment for any progress on a senior center. I get the impression they have developed a compulsive need to be identified as combatants and not contributors to the greater good of the city's expanding senior population.

Where there is a will, there is a way. Stay positive and proceed.

Charles Osterlund

Huntington Beach

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H.B. shouldn't bear desal burden for South County

I just want to make a quick note and applaud former Huntington Beach Mayor Debbie Cook and others who attended the meeting at the Mesa Water District meeting — due to health constraints I was unable to be there. 

They echoed what I have said for quite awhile on the matter and in particular the infrastructure mess imposed on Huntington Beach residents to accommodate South County at our expense. 

If South County needs water, build a desalination plant at Dana Point. Why should we suffer the brunt of your needs with nothing in return but a promise of inflated water prices "if we needed it." 

Prove that your model both technically, engineering wise, environmentally and financially is viable and sound so we don't end up with a Tampa Bay fiasco and with transparency, not backroom deals with erroneous letters of intent and non-disclosure entered by cities.

Desalinization is a good concept and needs to be considered but this whole "Poseidon Adventure" is to me a large chuck of Swiss cheese being pushed on H.B. residents.

Drew Kovacs

Huntington Beach

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New pope takes name of patron saint of the animals

I was delighted to learn that the newly elected pope chose for himself the name of St. Francis of Assisi, generally known as patron saint of the animals. Indeed, Catholic and Anglican churches hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of Oct. 4.

On one of his nature walks, Francis reportedly preached to the birds and is often portrayed with a bird in his hand. On another occasion, Francis concluded a pact with a ferocious wolf that was terrorizing local townsfolk, whereby the wolf would quit preying on the town's sheep in exchange for being fed regularly.

He even persuaded local dogs to stop harassing the wolf. He freed a rabbit from a trap, returned caught fish to their stream, and fed half-frozen bees in winter-time.

I hope that Pope Francis will inspire Catholics and all persons of goodwill to show non-human animals the respect and compassion they so richly deserve, particularly when it comes to subsidizing their abuse and slaughter for food at the checkout counter. Joining the Meatless Mondays trend may be a good start.

Henry Redfield

Huntington Beach

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