Community Center built on bad assumptions

On Wednesday I met with Parks Department Staff to discuss my issues with the proposed design of the Senior Center / Recreation Center.  A series of bad assumptions led to the current proposal which I feel places our community center on a foundation of sand…

Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.

— Matthew 7:24–27, World English Bible

After confirming these with parks staff, here are the assumptions which were made by staff which were then and remain incorrect.

  1. $20 million in state bonding could not be used for energy improvements to the existing facility.
  2. Some established ratio of funds between the Senior Center and Recreation Center needed to be maintained.
  3. The project would require strict adherence to underlying 1970s zoning language despite uniqueness of the project and site.
These these 3 assumptions are 100% incorrect, but greatly drove decisions made to date.  The CUDE meeting today exposed a 4th incorrect assumption being made by Senior Center Staff.  Both CUDE and the Energy Commission raised a number of issues, some of which I had not thought of.  This is the first time that real public comment has been allowed.
“A front door street facing entrance would be less safe for seniors or would create an inability to function in coordination with a rear parking lot entrance.”
This is also 100% false.  I know for a whole bunch of reasons including because Peoples Food Coop had the same challenge and made it work wonderfully.
Here was my summary of the largest issues that I sent to parks staff after the meeting.
Needless to say this has been very frustrating for me, but I do want to thank you for your time.  Here area some of the key points as I tried to convey them in order of importance.
1) Energy Improvements – I feel this is the most important part of our plan.  The previous working assumption that we could not use the $20 million for energy improvements is not correct.  Whether it is from the $20 million or another source, a state of the art energy plan remains my highest priority.
2) Senior Center site – The building should prominently face Elton Hills Dr. and offer safe and convenient access for Transit, Pedestrains, Cyclists, and car drop-offs on the street facing side.  Secondary access for cars is fine so long as it does not force a bad building design.  Transit may have the option but not the obligation of navigating the site.  Service access should be removed or masked.
3) The site should be developed in such a way that redevelopment along Broadway in not prevented.
I brought up many issues, but these are what I feel are most important and irreversible.
Thank you again for your time.

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