Plans are moving ahead to replace the aging Burlingame Community Center but funding will be the biggest obstacle for a new building.
The City Council will vote at its Monday night meeting on a master design plan for the center that’s been in the works for two years. A two-story 35,500-square-foot L-shaped building located slightly west of the current location is the front-runner. The current structure is 25,000 square feet, but has a slightly larger footprint than the proposed structure. Costs, which are a concern for many city officials, are estimated to range from $32.8 million and $35.4 million.
Despite the financials of putting in a new building, councilmembers are happy the plan is finally coming to them.
“We’ve wanted that for a long time,” said Councilman Jerry Deal “The hold up has been how do you pay for it and priorities. Some people want to do a downtown parking garage first.”
In fact, the community center is on the city’s unfunded infrastructure list. The City Council will be asked to prioritize that list on Aug. 18 so that staff can being crafting funding strategies for the highest-ranked projects. At this time, there is no funding allocated for the center so securing money for construction would also be part of the process.
“I haven’t been able to attend many of the community center meetings, so I’ll be interested to see the presentation,” said Vice Mayor Terry Nagel. “It’s one of a number of capital improvement projects that we need to prioritize for our city, since we can’t do all of them at once.”
City staff, an architecture firm, consultants and community members have been working together to envision a new community center in Washington Park through meetings, surveys, mailing, articles, ads, displays and community events. Doing this community outreach was the most fun part about the process, said Parks and Recreation Director Margaret Glomstad.
“It’s exciting because it’s the first step to get to the next step,” Glomstad said. “So much time has been spent on community input and keying into what they’re looking for was the most important thing. What we have is a good kind of consensus — trying to keep in mind the neighbors around the park, as well as the mature trees.”
It has been great work and reflects a great deal of input from the working group and from outreach and public hearings, said Mayor Michael Brownrigg.
“It’s great to have a plan in place, and then of course will come the more difficult question of how we’ll pay for it,” he said. “If we had a strong partnership with the high school district, I do wonder whether a gym would be valuable or not.”
There are various options for parking as well. Two possible parking strategies are being recommended: 63 ground level spaces and 80 under building spaces, or 65 ground level spaces and 80 spaces a half level below grade under the tennis courts.
For updates on the project, go to burlingame.org/index.aspx?page=3294.
The City Council meets 7 p.m. Monday, July 7 at Council Chambers, 501 Primrose Road.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105