Opinion: What is your city spending millions of dollars on?

by Angela Hauser 614 views0

An approximately $7 million project for a new community center in the city of Santa Clarita and very few people know what this means.

Time and money are a large factor in keeping Santa Clarita such an Awesome Town to live in but, awesome isn’t necessarily the first word to come to mind for some members of the Santa Clarita Valley.

The city budget for Santa Clarita is estimated to be about $180.6 million.

This includes funding for the Capital Improvements Program, personnel, the Redevelopment Successor Agency, operations and maintenance and debt services.

Santa Clarita has a population of more than 209,000 people, making it the third largest community in the Los Angela County, and all of these people are about to be provided with a newer and bigger resource they may not even know already existed within their community.

Most young people living in Santa Clarita  don’t consider it an awesome town to live in, but it might just be the lack of knowledge they have on the new up and coming resources.

“I have no idea what a community center is and I defiantly did not realize we had one in Santa Clarita,” said 18-year-old Canyon High School student Danielle Desch.

There is currently a community center in Newhall right off of Flying Tiger Parkway which many young adults other than Desch are unaware of.

It is unfortunate for the city that one of the main audiences they are trying to reach is completely oblivious to all of the classes, activities and even academic support the community center can provide for them.

The city does not advertise in places that are beneficial to it, keeping their efforts at a hush.

That silence may be one of the exact reasons that in the near future there will be a new, larger and more improved community center in Canyon Country right off of Sierra High Way and Soledad Canyon Rd.

“A community center provides a lot of services to area residents- and this site will be convenient and within walking distance to many residents, including seniors,” said Barbara Blankenship, the acquisition specialist of Santa Clarita.

“We know from experience how important programs are that provide assistance and resources to families and youth, this can change lives”

If only Blankenship and her colleagues had a better way of informing the public of this new community center it might benefit more people and save even more young lives.

“The City Council has been interested in creating a community center in Canyon Country for many years, and the current site on Flying Tiger Parkway was leased as a temporary location, while the City continued to look for a larger piece of land,” said Blankenship

Even the current business owner of the tattoo shop, Eternal Art, Adam Guyot is unaware of the new community center that is soon to be his shops neighboring building.

“I still know nothing about the center. I tried looking it up online and found no info,” said Guyot.

According to Blankenship they are unsure of exactly how much this new project is estimated to cost and will not know until the new design is complete.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 8.34.29 AM
Site of the new location.

Considering the current community center cost $6.5 million to make in 2005, the new 30% larger community center will also be quite costly.

The new center is going to be approximately 22,000 square feet in comparison to the current 17,000 square foot one in Newhall.

“The proposed 2015/16 budget proposes to allocated funds for the design from the City’s Facility Replacement Funds. The source of construction funds is not known at this point,” said Tom Reilly, the Park Development Administrator
of the City of Santa Clarita.

Blankenship also commented on how the current community center has amazing and valuable people.

A woman by the name of Hope Horner provides help to young people and families trying to avoid a troubled lifestyle, including drugs and violence that are found in all areas of society.

When the current community center was first built its aim was to help the disadvantaged youth in the Newhall area.

With in the first week of the grand opening, more than 600 residents signed up for membership. The center was built in one of the highest crime areas in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The new center however, will be in a much different place reaching out to a different demographic that might benefit differently from its amenities, because they would not be in such a desperate need for them.

“I mean the community center sounds like a good idea but I just don’t find it very appealing and I don’t think it would be a place where me and my friends would choose to hang out,” said Alexis Desch a COC student. “If I’m going to work out or take an exercise class I’d rather go to the gym.”

When asked what he thinks about the current community center that employees him, Coley Apsay responded in a way that show exactly how well the center is advertising itself.

“I am a referee for volleyball and basketball games that the city provides,” Apsay said, “but I was unaware that the location it self was a Community Center.”

If the City of Santa Clarita could just get the word out more efficiently about the resources the current and the future community center provide, many teens, adults, elderly people, parents and their children could benefit greatly.

When mother of two, Ashley Guardino was asked why she doesn’t utilize the existing community center that she is aware of she responded, “I guess I just don’t know enough about it, maybe if the city had some sort of a fund raiser I would be exploiting the resources that are right in my backyard.”

Now imagine how many people could benefit from the community center if the city could figure out an affective way to inform all of its residents.