Los Gatos council allocates remaining ARPA funds to create community center

Los Gatos council allocates remaining ARPA funds to create community center

Los Gatos is one step closer to getting a new community center.

The town council voted unanimously to revamp the town’s Adult Recreation Center (ARC) into a community center to address some of the immediate needs outlined in the town’s senior services roadmap, which was endorsed by the council earlier this year.

Councilmembers Matthew Hudes and Rob Moore teamed up to present the idea for the community center to the council, with the goal of building a new senior community center in the future. Some preliminary ideas for the ARC include reconfiguring the building to give space for nonprofit organizations to operate services for seniors, and make the space feel more welcoming and inviting.

“It’s recognized that it’s probably going to take 10 years for the roadmap’s dream of a new community center to be developed, and we can’t wait 10 years for some of the improvements and services that are needed,” Hudes said. “So, the idea basically is to focus on reconfiguring the space so that other outside agencies can provide services that our older adults and our broader community need.”

Funds for the project come from the town’s remaining $866,000 in American Rescue Plan Act monies.

While the council voted unanimously to allocate the funds for the project, Mayor Maria Ristow expressed reservations.

“My biggest concern is that we may be doing a lot of work and raising a lot of expectations and not be able to get there, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try,” Ristow said. ”I appreciate we had two councilmembers work together on this. I think this is incredibly important for our community, not just for seniors but for everybody.”

Moore said he and Hudes wanted to invest in a tangible project that would help bring in new service providers to the community.

“While we’ve done a lot of good with the $7 million in ARPA funding the council has allocated, in order to maximize this remaining $866,000, we should spend the full amount of the money on one project that will benefit the whole community,” Moore said. “I think this initial investment gets the ball rolling and can make steps towards accomplishing what was outlined” in the roadmap.

While the senior services roadmap outlines several short- and long-term goals. the need for an intergenerational community center was chief among them. With that project likely a decade out, and Hudes and Moore said renovating the ARC to serve as a temporary hub for those services not only addresses the need sooner but shows the town’s commitment to senior services.

Tom Picraux, who serves on the committee that created the roadmap, told the council that the investment in the ARC will help demonstrate a commitment from the town to donors and investors.

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To that end, the town will bring in a design consultant for the project and establish a Community Center Development Fund.

New Museum Los Gatos requested a slice of the remaining ARPA funds to go toward its rent and the Los Gatos History Project. The council ultimately decided not to allocate one-time funds for an ongoing project.