The time is swiftly approaching for the demolition and reconstruction of the Community Park buildings, which are home to Poway Senior Center.
This will likely occur in Early Summer 2019, about 9 months away.
WE NEED YOUR INPUT TO SHARE WITH THE CITY COUNCIL
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY FORUM
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2 , 5:30 PM -7:00 PM
HERE AT POWAY SENIOR CENTER
A Message From Leslie
WHEN DOLLARS AND CENTS MAKE NO SENSE
Since its incorporation in 1980, 38 years ago, the Poway City Council has supported Poway Senior Center, and in 1982 signed its first formal agreement with us to provide space to us to serve the senior community. We have always been incredibly grateful for not only the space, but the decision to not charge us for utilities and maintenance as it is a City building. This relationship with our non-profit corporation saves the Poway taxpayers over $600,000 each year, should the City provide the same services.
The buildings were, for the most part, built through the labor and funding of volunteers, community members and the generosity and funding by the Weingart Foundation.
While we understand and support the City Council's decision to demolish and reconstruct the existing buildings, we are deeply disappointed in the Poway City Council's decision to support the City Manager's recommendation to construct a building too small to meet the Poway Community's current needs, with the remote possibility of future expansion.
At the January 2018 Council meeting that determined the building size, the community filled the Council Chambers, and the voice was united to express their support to construct a building that would sustain the current needs of the Senior Center and City recreation programming.
Essentially, the question posed to them was...
Is it financially worth current and/or reserve (savings account) taxpayer funds to continue current service levels by constructing a building having two large community rooms, essentially what Poway's community currently has?
WHY IS THIS NECESSARY? The City uses the Auditorium (one of the large buildings) for rentals and recreation programming that provides necessary revenue for City operations. Poway Senior Center uses the Weingart Building for all of our programming Monday through Friday, and for Bingo on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
For many, Bingo is thought of as just a game. The reality is, for the seniors in this community, Bingo and the volunteers who serve to make it happen, provides a vibrant social activty for our seniors and generates about $230,000 net per year, which is over half of our operating budget. It is imperative that we have the space and current days available to continue operations.
If the City Council answers "yes," to the question above, the City could then could maximize revenue in one of the larger rooms and the Senior Center could generate self-sustaining income in the other.
To me and my amazing staff, the answer is simple, yes! This is a 50-year long decision that must meet the needs of a growing community.
Based on previous agenda reports, the allocation necessary to build the larger building is no more than approximately the median price of two homes in Poway. At this time, the City Council has decided that this is too high of a price to pay to create an adequate and sustainable community and senior center that would serve the entire population of Poway well into the future.
I, and my staff, disagree andbelieve that their interpretation of dollars and cents makes no sense...not in planning for the future.
The population of Poway is growing, as is the percentage of its senior population, and although I am not a Poway resident, I have been in public service to this community for 17 years and I have a great deal of love and respect for what th Poway community has to offer, and deserves.
OUR IMMEDIATE FUTURE
This has been a long process, as everyone knows. Early conversations lead to a belief on our part that the City would support us during construction. At this time, however, the City Council has asked us to find our own space. After hours upon hours spent on the search, we have found that there are little to no options available to sustain necessary Nutrition, Activity and Bingo programming. Without adequate space and financial support to house our operations during construction, and the completed building large enought to adequately sustain current City and Senior Center operations, tragically, we will be unable to continue our service to this community and our Seniors.
Additionally, the City Council has suggested that we bear the bulk of the cost of the temporary two-year transition with use of the Poway Senior Center Endowment Fund, created by the City Council in 2001. The endowment was specifically created to generate interest as a form of support for the Senior Center, and to protect taxpayer dollars The interest was to be used to support emergency financial needs.
In the mid-2000's, as an emergency measure and in an effort to save taxpayer money, the City did allow us to withdraw funds from the principal when Senior Center management was unable to sustain operations. Twelve years later, we are thriving and have not needed to touch the principal again, utilizing only the interest for large capital purchases.
By asking us to use the endowment to fund the temporary transition, we will likely be left without the protection of the financial safety net that they created, which is contrary to the purpose of the endowment and the future protection of taxpayer funds.
WE NEED YOUR VOICE
We invite you to take this opportunity to ask questions and voice your opinion at our community forum. All responses will be forwarded to the Poway City Council after the forum.
Agree or disagree, YOUR OPINION MATTERS and I will respectfully share it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and we hope to see you there.