Two South County cities make plans for rec centers

In an effort to fill a need for community and recreation space in two South County cities, Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach officials moved ahead this week on separate proposals to build centers to serve local youths, seniors and other residents.

In Arroyo Grande, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended its City Council approve a 53,712-square-foot sports and recreation complex that would include courts for basketball, volleyball and indoor soccer and a running track.

The council is set to consider the proposal March 9.

In Grover Beach, the City Council voted to submit a grant application for state funds to build the Cleaver Park Community Center. The 2,905-square-foot center at 164 S. 13th St. could host art and exercise classes, senior programs and workshops, and be used as an after-school program for students through a partnership with the Boys & Girls Club.

The city has to submit its application for $1.4 million — the estimated cost of the project — by March 1. Grant awards will be announced by Sept. 1. The $368 million grant program for parks was included in Proposition 84, passed by voters in 2006.

“We’re just one portion of the whole thing, but I think it’s a great opportunity, especially in that area,” said Moyses Muguira, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of South San Luis Obispo County.

“In the immediate area, transportation is a huge issue for seniors, and hopefully this will help bridge that gap as well” and provide services for them, Muguira said.

The Arroyo Grande center would be on a city-owned parcel at West Branch Street and Old Ranch Road. That land has been leased to the Five Cities Community Services Foundation.

The foundation has been working for more than a decade on its plan to increase indoor court space for youth basketball, indoor soccer and volleyball, said Allan Buck, the foundation’s project coordinator. The center would also have space for aerobics and dance classes, conference rooms and office space for nonprofit organizations.

Buck said the foundation already has $1.6 million in donations for the project, which he estimated will cost about $10 million. Foundation members would also like to create a $1 million to $2 million endowment to maintain the center.

“As soon as we get this through the council, we’ll start doing brochures and hitting the streets” to raise money for the project, said J Johnson, the group’s president.

However, construction on the project couldn’t start until the city lifts its moratorium on developments that would require new water connections — which the council is set to consider in April — and until improvements to the Brisco Road-Halcyon Road interchange with Highway 101 are approved and funded, Arroyo Grande Planning Manager Jim Bergman said.

Bergman said he hopes the Brisco Road interchange project will be designed and approved within five years.