Los Gatos council allocates remaining ARPA funds to create community center

Town will use $866k to revamp Adult Recreation Center

Los Gatos is getting closer to a new community center.

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

Councilmembers Matthew Hudes and Rob Moore collaborated to present the community center concept to the council, with the goal of eventually building a new senior community center. Some preliminary ideas for the ARC include reconfiguring the building to allow nonprofit organizations to operate senior services, as well as making the space more welcoming and inviting.

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

The project is funded by the town’s remaining $866,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

While the council voted unanimously to approve the project’s funding, 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 explained. “I appreciate that two councilmembers collaborated on this.” “I believe that this is extremely important for our community, not just for seniors, but for everyone.”

Moore and Hudes stated that they wanted to invest in a tangible project that would aid in the recruitment of new service providers to the community.

“While we’ve done a lot of good with the $7 million in ARPA funding that the council has allocated, we should spend the entire $866,000 on one project that will benefit the entire community,” Moore said. “I believe that this initial investment gets the ball rolling and allows us to take steps toward achieving what was outlined” in the roadmap.

While the senior services roadmap outlines a number of short- and long-term objectives. Among them was the need for an intergenerational community center. With that project likely a decade in the future, Hudes and Moore argue that renovating the ARC to serve as a temporary hub for those services not only addresses the need sooner, but also demonstrates the town’s commitment to senior services.

Tom Picraux, a member of the roadmap committee, told the council that the investment in the ARC will help demonstrate the town’s commitment to donors and investors.

To that end, the town will hire a design consultant and create a Community Center Development Fund.

The New Museum Los Gatos asked for a portion of the remaining ARPA funds to be used for rent and the Los Gatos History Project. The council eventually decided against allocating one-time funds to an ongoing project.

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