By Ronald Penh
On Feb. 23, the city council of Gardena voted to apply for a statewide development and community revitalization program grant fund to financially support the creation of the Gardena Community Aquatic and Senior Center.
The statewide development and community revitalization program recognizes disparities in park access, recognizes the underinvestment in parks and outdoor infrastructure in disadvantaged communities, and provides grants up to $8.5 million with no match requirement.
The Gardena Community Aquatic and Senior Center was considered the most viable project to be funded by city grant consultants, a project which is approximated to cost $15 million
However, City Manager Clint Osorio emphasized that the grant is very competitive and that the creation of the Gardena Community Aquatic and Senior Center is not dependent on the city receiving the grant.
Last year, the city of Gardena applied to receive the grant three times, and was unsuccessful each time.
The construction the Aquatic and Senior Center would also utilize Measure G funds, Osorio stated. Measure G is a local three-fourths cent sales tax measure that was approved on the March 3, 2020 ballot.
The schematic of the Gardena Community Aquatic and Senior Center shows a pool and a senior center on the first floor. What will be on the second floor is still open to discussion. Ideas suggested include a teen center and a technology center.
An issue posed was how Gardena’s Alzheimer’s daycare center is currently located outside of city boundaries. Mayor Cerda and Councilmember Rodney Tanaka made a suggestion that the Senior Center include a space for the Alzheimer’s center.
Mayor Tasha Cerda views the center as a key building for the city of Gardena, as there are not many places in Gardena that cater to the senior demographic.
Mayor Pro Tem Mark Henderson suggested that the center be constructed as a green building to help offset costs and make rebates available.
Osorio followed up saying that they would be taking advantage of the rebates and benefits that come with constructing a green building.
The schematic and design of the building is still open to changes.
During the meeting, resident Charlotte Lynch, who received an accommodation that same night for her contributions to the Gardena community, suggested that local high schools hold an art competition to create murals on the walls outside the pool.
Mary Simonell, administrative analyst for the city of Gardena, highly encourages residents to provide input on the Gardena Community Aquatic and Senior Center project and can be contacted by phone at 310-217-9655 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The ideas and opinions of our community are vitally important to us,” Simonell said.