Calabasas seniors are now a step closer to getting their very own senior center.
At a recent meeting, the City Council approved preliminary designs and a budget estimate for a senior center, said community services director Jeff Rubin.
A senior task force consisting of six local residents, Mayor Mary Sue Maurer and City Councilmember David Shapiro was formed in October to start making headway for the proposed center.
The move was in response to the pleas and concerns of a local group who call themselves the “Savvy Seniors.” Carol Davis, a resident of Calabasas for the past 36 years, is one of the driving forces behind the active group.
“We are a very active bunch who go all over the place to take part in activities and take classes but it’s sort of scattered around,” said Davis, naming De Anza Park, the Founders’ Hall in the library and the Calabasas Tennis and Swim Center as the places her group frequents. “So we felt it was high time that we have it all under one roof so we also have a place to hang out, network and just be organized.”
Both the City Council and the task force have agreed that the Civic Center is the ideal place for a senior center due to its proximity to the library and The Commons.
“We can easily walk to The Commons for lunch or a movie plus it’s well-lit day and night,” Davis said.
The former market researcher also mentioned the need for a quieter place for meetings or presentations. “One time, we wanted to invite this lawyer to give seniors some free legal advice, but we couldn’t find a suitable place that was quiet enough,” she said.
Hosting bereavement groups would also call for peace and quiet, said Davis, who has looked into senior centers in and around Los Angeles county and was surprised that there at least 100 of them but none in Calabasas.
After the New Year, one of the first assignments for the task force will be a “field trip” of sorts around the valley and surrounding areas.
“We want to look at other senior centers, take notes of the things we like and see how they can be implemented in Calabasas,” said Sue Somberg, another longtime resident and task force member.
Davis is already envisioning an art room. “Most of us like going to the art classes and in most places, we can’t really make a mess,” she said.
According to Davis, there are about 2,800 classes each season for seniors in the area, ranging from art history to improv to water aerobics. Most classes average anywhere from 30 to 150 attendees.
“As you can tell, we are a very active bunch, so having a senior center would really mean a lot to us,” said Davis.
The group has much to look forward to after the holidays, even if the senior center completion won’t be happening in 18 to 24 months, according to Davis’ estimate.
“Aside from the senior center visits, the task force will also be reviewing a proposal prepared by an architectural firm staff to conduct public workshops and the like," said Rubin.