Left to right are Councilmember Dr. Gabino Aguirre, Vice-Mayor Ray Luna, Councilmember John Procter, Mayor Rick Cook, Councilmember Mary Ann Krause, and David Allen. The group turned over the first shovels of dirt starting the work on the Las Piedras Community Center. Photo by Don Johnson

Las Piedras Park Community Center ready for construction volunteers

October 25, 2006
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesA 4,800 square foot community center at Las Piedras Park will be built with volunteer labor, and those willing to donate their skills are being sought according to Building and Safety Director Steve Stuart. The long in process center will include an activity room, banquet area, meeting room, study hall, fitness center and daycare area.“All costs of the planning, design, architecture, engineering and construction are being paid for by David Allen’s HomeBoys Incorporated,” which is donating the center to the city when it is completed, according to City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz.The groundbreaking for the Community Center - attended by Mayor Rick Cook, Vice Mayor Ray Luna and Councilmembers Dr. Gabino Aguirre, Mary Ann Krause and John Procter - was held last week in the southwest corner of the park. Las Piedras Park is also home to the Santa Paula Police Department Storefront/Community Building.The creation of the Community Center followed community planning sessions where Las Piedras Park neighborhood residents were asked to offer input into what the new facility should include. The Council approved the final plans for the Community Center in September, which kicked off some criticism on the city’s blog.
There was a posting that noted that the blogger had heard that the project had been let without competitive bids, leading to Bobkiewicz’s reply that he had also initially doubted the offer. “But now, nearly two years later, we have worked through all the details...” to allow construction to begin, Bobkiewicz wrote. “No bids required for a free Community Center.”The creation of the Community Center “Is an exciting opportunity for the city,” Stuart told the Council at the October 16 meeting. Stuart said that anyone interested in volunteering for the construction project should contact the Building and Safety Department at 933-4218. Volunteers will then be referred to Allen, Stuart noted.It is hoped that construction will be completed in Spring 2007.

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