To be green or not to be green? This was the question raised at Monday afternoon’s meeting of the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District’s Community Center Task Force.
The task force passed a motion approving the I.V. Community Center feasibility study compiled by Craig Harris and Greg Fitzgerald of Vision Work Consulting. The project includes a design for the structure cost estimates, potential operating models and funding opportunities for the $3.35 million the taskforce hopes to raise.
Money is a big concern for the task force, as a lot of environmentally friendly components that are being considered in the construction, such as recycled lumber, a solar domestic water system and low-chemical paints, are costly to install.
“Green does not just mean money spent up front. Green means dollars saved,” said Father Jon’Stephen Hedges of St. Athanasius Chuch, who serves as a member of the community center task force.
Features such as water-efficient plumbing fixtures and photovoltaic shingles will ultimately lower long-term costs by decreasing the center’s operating costs, Hedges said.
Task force members also discussed tapping new funding sources, such as local philanthropic foundations, state and county delegations, the Redevelopment Agency and UCSB. However, due to the current economic climate leading to state and local budget cuts, the estimated figures that may come from these agencies are conservative at best.
“We don’t have a crystal ball. We have no idea how the philanthropic community will respond to this,” Harris said.
The feasibility study estimated a donation of $150,000 from UCSB; however, the university’s dean of students and task force member Yonie Harris said that was “a chicken whose egg we can’t count because it hasn’t hatched.”
Members of the community who attended the meeting expressed concerns with the project’s size and the potential increase in traffic coming in and out of Isla Vista. IVRPD General Manager Derek Johnson said traffic studies suggest most of the center’s patrons would travel on foot or by bike. Members of the task force also said that most vehicular traffic would consist of drop-offs and pick-ups, thus requiring less space for parking.
If the Community Center is completed, it will offer day and evening childcare programs, teen activities, tutoring and mentoring programs, sports and recreation facilities, meeting and multipurpose rooms for community events and celebrations and exhibition areas for local art, culture and history.
The approved feasibility study for the Isla Vista Community Center will be presented to the Project Area Committee on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at St. Michael’s Church. The Community Center Task Force will meet again March 24 to discuss PAC approval strategies.