Congressman inspects plans for $3M in funding he secured for building improvements
Congressman Salud Carbajal toured the Goleta Community Center (GCC) on Monday to see first-hand plans to utilize $3 million dollars in federal community project funding he delivered to improve and help reopen the antiquated facility.
Goleta’s General Services Director Matt Fore led the tour, which included Mayor Paula Perotte, Councilmember James Kyriaco and staff from the city and Goleta Valley Community Center. The city-owned building has been partially closed since January 2021 due the need for seismic improvements. A video clip of the tour can be viewed at https://youtu.be/rb8Ym3SuLZw.
The funding delivered by Rep. Carbajal will be used for ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and other building improvements that, together with the seismic upgrades, will allow the building to safely reopen.
“The Goleta Valley Community Center plays a pivotal role in the community, serving all facets and age groups. I am proud to have secured $3 million for renovations through Community Project funding, helping to ensure that the Center remains a resource for many years to come,” Rep. Carbajal said in a press release.
“It is imperative that we get this important community resource fully operational and available to the large and diverse populations that gather here,” said Mayor Perotte in a press release. “We are beyond grateful for Rep. Carbajal’s successful and ongoing efforts to secure the funding necessary for us to make ADA improvements to this important city-owned building following the seismic upgrade project.”
Typically, 100,000 visitors use the GCC each year, including an average of 250 seniors daily. More than 90 non-profit organizations use the facility monthly. The GCC serves as a venue for classes and activities including childcare, senior services and a host of other programs supporting arts, literacy and recreation. The Community Center also serves as a Red Cross shelter during natural disasters and as a community hub for the distribution of critical resources and services such as COVID-19 tests and food distribution.
In order to make seismic upgrades, the city is required to make ADA improvements. The first phase of ADA improvements will include adding access aisles to ADA parking spaces, improvements to the path of travel from the bus stop on Hollister Avenue to the front door, new handrails on the front entrance access ramp and the addition of accessible toilet stalls to the inside restrooms.
Future phases could include additional improvements to ADA access throughout the Community Center and parking lot and/or improvements to the building’s infrastructure. These additional phases are under development.
Seismic improvements will be funded by a $5 million dollar Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant which includes $1.3 million dollars in matching funding from the city of Goleta. The funding will provide for the installation of additional anchorage systems throughout the building to secure connections at the wall and ceiling intended to protect the building during an earthquake.
Once the seismic upgrades are complete, the auditorium and dining room will be safe to reopen. Seismic upgrades are expected to begin in the winter of 2022. The first phase of ADA improvements will follow shortly thereafter.
On January 1, the city will take over management of the GCC, which is currently being operated by the non-profit Goleta Valley Community Center (GVCC) organization. The city acquired the GCC from the Goleta Union School District back in 2013.
In total, Congressman Carbajal secured over $17 million for local projects, which includes $9,512,340 for community projects in Santa Barbara County.