Situation has changed, center plans must too

I am truly sick and tired of supporters of the "Palace In The Park", like Bob Dettloff and J.D. Miles, characterizing responsible opponents of an expensive new facility in Central Park as being "anti-senior." 

Most opponents I know support enhanced services and programs for our senior population in Huntington Beach. Most also support providing modern facilities for our seniors. Most, if not all, decry the current Rodgers Senior Center as being inadequate and dilapidated. 

I think there is general agreement on those points. Supporters of the "palace" point to the passage of Measure T in 2006 (razor thin at 51.1% as it was) as somehow justifying proceeding with this project no matter what. That is simply wrong-headed and irresponsible. 

The original plans for the "palace" called for the expenditure of upward of $22 million on the project.

Many supporters wanted to spend more but were constrained by the limits of the Quimby Act funds from Pacific City that were being wholly devoted to the facility. I was at some of the original planning meetings when some of these "ups and extras" were turned down as being too extravagant. 

Now that the take from Pacific City has been chopped down by up to two thirds of the hoped-for funds, both the location (which requires expensive grading and prepping) and the facility (at 45,000 square feet) are no longer feasible. There are no credible ways to close the $15 million chasm between anticipated funding and the original plans. And yet, the gung-ho supporters of a brand spanking new facility refuse to get real.  These supporters are entitled to their own wishful thinking, but should not attempt to foist their unrealistic views on the rest of us. 

It is not being "anti-senior" to demand that we live within our means in providing enhanced facilities for this deserving segment of our population. Times have changed since the heady days of 2006. We all have had to weather the financial hardships of a down economy. This includes plans in a number of areas, not just development projects like the senior center. 

The city has no business pursuing a project it knows it cannot afford either now or in the immediate future.  Social and political pressure has been applied by "palace" supporters to overturn both common sense and fiscal prudence and commit to the original plans. 

Our city leaders must resist this pressure and level with our citizenry about the realities of this project.

Tim Geddes

Huntington Beach

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Opinion on LeBard Park didn't tell whole story

Celia Jaffe's Lebard commentary, ("Sale of LeBard property is best plan," March 28) failed to state that in order to achieve her plan the existing baseball fields and city park would be demolished. What gall. The city park would then be reconstructed in an undesireable area under Southern California Edison power lines. Millions of dollars wasted needlessly.

The school district can develop such homes on the footprint of the school building site while leaving the public's park and the ball fields in place. The sale of this site should yield close to $3 million, which should be more than adequate to house 38 people in a new site. Or the district can choose to use the vacant and modernized Kettler school site for their new headquarters.

The public has already spoken. Not one person spoke in favor of the school district's proposed plan at the community meeting held last July.

Ed Kerins

Huntington Beach

ED KERINS is an advisor for Save LeBard Park.