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New Manhattan Beach Community Center Gets Another Financial Push
March 14, 2023 06:00AM ● By Tyler Shaun Evains
Manhattan Beach will get a new community, senior center and Scout House building in coming years – but with ongoing inflation, a second cash influx from the city was required to get the project in motion.
The City Council recently approved giving nearly $1.7 million toward construction of a new senior and Scout community center that will replace the existing, 70-year-old Scout House.
The Boy Scouts built the original Scout House, adjacent to the Joslyn Community Center, in 1952 and later donated the building to the city. It’s served as a gathering spot for senior activities and community meetings, as well as for generations of Boy and Girl Scout members.
In 2013, Manhattan Beach set forth an agreement with the Boy and Girl Scouts of America and the Manhattan Beach Property Owners Association, allowing the two groups to start a fundraising campaign for a new Scout House. The city gave what it thought would be the final $1.9 million needed to get the building done last year, after initially committing $1 million in 2019. But inflation-fueled construction cost increases, on top of previous supply chain issues and COVID-19 setbacks, caused the previous $5.2 million price to jump to $6.8 million this year.
br>About $700,000 of the newly allocated funds will come from unreserved general funds, said city Finance Department Director Steve Charelian, while $1 million will come from an annual pension policy transfer of 40%.
Public Works Department staff estimates breaking ground in 2025 on the new two-story, 7,000 square-foot facility, which will go between the Joslyn Center and Live Oak Park; the current building is one story and 2,300 square feet. Construction was initially set to begin this year.
br>Besides sagging ceilings and walls, and a broken water line previously flooding a portion of the facility, community members have complained about a lack of space for all the Scouting groups in town. Even 10 years ago, only 20 of the city’s 70 Girl Scout troops were able to use the house regularly.
The volunteer group Friends of the Senior and Scout Community Center has given $2 million to the project, Charelian said. That group will give another $140,000 by the end of the month, while the Beach Cities Health District will provide $150,000. The friends group will continue to fundraise for the project to cover ongoing expenses.
City staff will work with the friends group to expedite construction to avoid more cost hikes, said Parks and Recreation Department Director Mark Leyman.
The council will also later choose a new name for the facility. Staff currently suggests “Live Oak Community Center,” tabbed as “a hub for all generations.”
Folks previously envisioned a 22,000-square-foot combined Joslyn Community Center/Scout House/post office/Chamber of Commerce facility.
Even though the size and scope of the project has been pared down since then, the new facility will still be a multifunctional, intergenerational space, city staff said previously.
There will be multiple meeting rooms, a senior lounge, demonstration kitchen, makerspace and a bathroom that will be for those using the Live Oak baseball field. Roofing will be solar-panel ready.
The first floor will open to a courtyard that’ll be paved with bricks, surrounding the site’s 70-year-old pine tree. The outdoor space will have a barbecue area and a fire pit with amphitheater-style seating around it.
Residents, businesses, Scout troops and more can buy commemorative bricks that will go in the courtyard ground.
Great article on the latest City Council decision! Here we go!
Manhattan Beach Scout House Gets Boost From City
May 24, 2022 08:48AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The future Manhattan Beach Senior and Scout Community Center, also known as “the new Scout House,” has received a $1.9 million boost from the city.
This contribution, along with an updated partnership agreement between the City and the local Friends of the Senior & Scout Community Center (FSSCC) organization, will allow the project to move forward with the environmental review and permitting process.
The community center will replace the 70-year-old Scout House adjacent to the Joslyn Center on Valley Drive. The new facility will be a shared two-story building with approximately 7,000 square feet of multi-use space. It is expected to be completed in late 2025.
The project was first brought to the city 12 years ago. After multiple discussions and arrangements, the city committed $1 million to the project in 2018. FSSCC subsequently raised more than $2.5 million in donations and pledges toward the project.
However, with COVID-19 delays and with construction costs rising, the group learned that they would need an additional $1.899 million to complete the job. As part of an agreement between the city and the FSSCC, the City Council unanimously agreed to make that commitment at its May 17 meeting.
“While we have much more work to do, reaching this milestone gives our unique public/private partnership a clear path forward, and will enable us to bring our vision for a community center serving all generations to life,” said Michael Tauber, chairman of the FSSCC, in a statement.
At the meeting, the city and the FSSCC also approved an agreement to accept an $800,000 donation toward the project from the Manhattan Beach Property Owners Association (counted within the $2.5 million raised).
Current Building is ‘Bursting’ at the Seams
The current 2,300 square foot single-story Scout House, built by volunteers in 1952, has seen generations of scout troops in Manhattan Beach and was home to the world’s first Pinewood Derby.
The proposed new building, designed by local architect Louie Tomaro, will contain approximately 7,000 square feet of multi-use space. That space will be dedicated to older adults Monday through Friday prior to 3:00 p.m., and to scouts thereafter. However, 1,000 square feet of space will be reserved exclusively for older adult use.
The completed facility will include classrooms, meeting space, a courtyard, and a full kitchen.
Tauber told the City Council that the current space was severely inadequate for both youth and adult needs.
“Manhattan Beach programs are very active and alive and well, and we are bursting for more space,” said Tauber. “Our best resources are our youth and adult populations…We should not stifle this opportunity to grow and prosper. Manhattan Beach needs this building.”
FSSCC board members, however, added that they had nearly tapped out their fundraising opportunities.
According to Beth Gessner, vice chair of the FSSCC board, donors to the project include 19 local businesses, organizations, and corporations; 48 scout troops; and nearly 400 individuals and families, with donations ranging from $5 to $250,000,
FSSCC board member Bonnie Schwartz told City Council that although the volunteer board had met “every challenge that has been presented” throughout the pandemic, the group has “truly exhausted” local fundraising resources.
“We have no more donor naming recognition opportunities available – except the bathrooms – and no one seems to want the bathrooms,” she told the council.
Council Gives Unanimous Support
Councilmembers, at least two of whom have seen this item discussed for more than a decade, agreed with the need to move the project forward.
Mayor Pro Tem Steve Napolitano said that he would like to see a larger-scale project that would also include updating the current Joslyn Center and post office facilities along that entire block, although he did not want to see the scout house project delayed any further.
Councilmember Richard Montgomery also urged Tomaro, if possible, to expand the square footage even further, given the growing needs of the community.
Councilmember Joe Franklin added that he would encourage the FSSCC board to continue fundraising efforts. “Once people see it break ground, and they get excited about what’s going on there, we can have another layer of bricks,” he said.
Councilmember Suzanne Hadley, speaking from home while recovering from a back injury, gave the project an enthusiastic cheer. “This really is a model of public private partnerships,” she said.
“It’s an exciting project to support, and it’s an exciting project to envision,” concluded Manhattan Beach Mayor Hildy Stern. “I really thank [FSSCC] for your resilience, but also because you have brought something to this city that is just unanimously supported – and I can’t think in the last three-plus years when there’s been something that’s just been this exciting for everybody to wrap their arms around. And the way that this combines so many community interests, it’s just really nice to have this to look forward to.”
New Scout House will help bring generations together in Manhattan Beach
Social isolation went mainstream during the pandemic, when normally hypersocial young children and teens joined the oldest among us in the house-bound doldrums.
Such isolation, as we now all know, has a cost. Several studies have found that social isolation increases a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, bringing risk levels normally associated with smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. It also severely impacts brain function, particularly among older adults, nearly one in four who live in social isolation; a study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that social isolation is associated with a 50 percent increase in risk of dementia. Among young adults, social isolation is linked to increased risk of mental disorders, particularly depression and anxiety.
These are some of the reasons the Friends of the Senior and Scout Community Center are hoping to come out of the pandemic with a final push in fundraising to provide a local solution to social isolation, and to do so in a way that specifically brings older and younger generations together — a brand new Community Center that brings together the functions of the existing Scout House and Senior Community Center near the city center.
Click here to read the full article in the Easy Reader
Thank you to the City of Manhattan Beach for their $1MM investment in the Senior & Scout Community Center! Click here to read the article.
Pinewood Derby revs up a decades-old tradition in Manhattan Beach
The Beach Reporter, May 30th 2018
“Juliette Grandy, a 7-year-old Manhattan Beach resident, stopped in at the community-wide Pinewood Derby to design a model speedster to match her pink and blue shoes. That’s something she wouldn’t have been able to do last year.
This year, everyone was invited—not just scouts—to the 65th annual Manhattan Beach Community Pinewood Derby, which took place mid-morning on Memorial Day in the Joslyn Community Center as a fundraiser for a new Senior and Scout Community Center.”
Click here to listen to Bret Bernard and Julie Justus McGinity describe the vision and details for the new Senior and Scout Community Center.
Thanks Manhattan Beach City Council, for your support and enthusiasm!
‘Fluid’ designs for Manhattan Beach Scout House include moveable walls
The Beach Reporter
August 10, 2017
“When Louie Tomaro set out to design a new community center to replace the nearly 65-year-old Manhattan Beach Scout House, he did so with two groups in mind: scouts and seniors. The groups’ varying needs resulted in what Tomaro describes as a “fluid design.” (Click to link to The Beach Reporter article.)
“We are really pleased that they (City Council) continue to be actively interested and supportive partners in the endeavor to build our scout and seniors a facility that will meet their needs into the 21st century.”
“The Scout House will continue to be used as it is today: Seniors will have primary use of the facility during the day, while girl and boy scouting troops will have use of the facility in the after-school hours and on weekends.”
–Julie Justus McGinity, Friends of Manhattan Beach Senior and Scout Community Center board member
New Roundhouse Aquarium, Scout House designs approved for Manhattan Beach
Easy Reader News
August 2, 2017
“Bret Bernard, a board member for the nonprofit, noted how heavily used the facility is, given the 1,500 scouts and nearly 10,000 seniors (35 percent of the city’s population) live in Manhattan Beach.”
“It’s a perfect partnership — seniors by day, and scouts by night,” Bernard said.
He also noted the Scout House’s larger historical significance — the year after it was built, the Scouts hosted the world’s first Pinewood Derby, a model car race which has since been adopted by scouts worldwide.” (Click to link to Easy Reader News article.)
Hometown Fair a Great Success
The Beach Reporter
The Manhattan Beach City Council on Tuesday night approved a final design for a new Roundhouse Aquarium and an initial design for the Scout House, two public-private partnerships that each will restore vitality to the city’s most historic remaining infrastructure. (Click to link to the The Beach Reporter article)