Kensington's main local government body, the Kensington Police Protection and Community Services District (KPPCSD), is seeking to promote public awareness and receive public comment on plans for a substantial renovation of the Community Center, also known as the Youth Hut.
The plans are intended to improve seismic safety and increase the utility of the structure where community meetings and youth programs take place.
An ad hoc Park Buildings Committee is coordinating the effort. The committee's next meeting takes place tonight, March 7, at 7 p.m. at the Community Center, 59 Arlington Avenue. The agenda is attached to this article.
Here is an open letter to Kensington residents from the six-member committee describing the project and funding needs:
Citizens of Kensington,
Set on the hillside overlooking the SF Bay, Kensington Park is the major physical asset owned and operated by the Kensington Police and Protection Community Services District. The construction of outdoor park activities is superb with children’s play areas, tennis courts, basketball, pathways, playing fields and most recently the addition of public restrooms.
The Community Center, aka the Youth Hut, is the building we all share and attend for recreation programs and community sponsored activities and events. The Center should be the “jewel” and focus of the park. However, it is sadly in need of repair and does not live up to the basic safety standards and civic expectations of most Kensington residents.
A Master Plan for Park Buildings was completed in March 2012. Based on community input from two workshops and an on-line survey, the architects recommended both repairing the basic health and safety problems, as well as making improvements that would better serve the entire community.
The focus of the design is to first provide a building that would be seismically and physically safer for our children who are the biggest users of the facility. Additionally, the design provides greater separation and flexibility in how the rooms are used, so that multiple programs or meetings could take place at the same time. The design includes human comfort improvements, such as temperature controls and better sound and lighting, while concurrently reducing ongoing costs through energy efficient systems. The design also encourages more rental opportunities and festive celebrations at times when the facility is not currently being used.
Lastly, the new Center would celebrate its beautiful park setting and the indoor-outdoor experience by providing more light along the west wall – a huge opportunity missed in the current structure.
Funding is needed to build the Community Center as recommended in the Master Plan. The cost of renovation is estimated at $1.6 million dollars. Even with existing funding identified for this project (some of which are grants and donations) there is an estimated funding shortfall of $1.1 million dollars. To fund the recommended improvements will require either a voter approved bond or a tax at some point in our future.
The Committee is committed to making our park buildings and our shared civic spaces as safe and enduring as possible and an asset for our enjoyment today and for our families and friends for generations to come.
The Park Buildings Committee is reaching out to “K” groups and other interested neighborhood associations in March so we can educate the community about the Master Plan and the financing options and bring that information back to the KPPCSD Board. Please plan on attending your “K” group meeting or call General Manager Greg Harman at 510-526-4141 to schedule a discussion with your neighborhood group.
To review the full Kensington Park Buildings Master Plan, please go to kensingtoncalifornia.org and open the tab marked “Parks and Recreation”.
Readers can also go directly to the information at this link.
The committee includes two members of the KPPCSD – Chuck Toombs, who serves as committee chair, and Linda Lipscomb – and four others: Lisa Corona, Bruce Morrow, Jack Griffith and Andrew Reed.
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