The long-planned overhaul of the Homestead Valley Community Center is taking shape.
The Marin County Board of Supervisors gave the green light to put the $1.2 million renovation out to bid earlier this month, paving the way for a 9- to 12-month remodel of the building, which was transformed from a single-family home to a 3,660-square-foot community center in the mid 1970s. Construction could begin as soon as early April, according to Steve Petterle, principal park planner with Marin County Parks.
Breaking ground will mark the beginning of the end of a journey that dates back many years, with board members of the Homestead Valley Community Association rallying support for what would eventually become Measure A, a special tax of $125 per parcel that voters approved in a special election in 2009.
Sixty percent of the revenues from that tax, which rises each year by 2 percent, or approximately $2,750, goes toward a three-part renovation of the community center grounds: the community center, the pool and the adjacent meadow. Forty percent of the revenue goes to the Homestead Valley Land Trust and is used to reduce fire fuel in the valley.
“There has been a strong desire here for a long time to find a way to improve the facility,” said Les Lizama, the center’s executive director. “Now it’s all coming together.”
To pay for the renovation of the community center, the county used 14.5 years of Measure A revenue as collateral to secure a $900,000 loan. The county also kicked in an additional $150,000 from its General Fund to pay for accessibility improvements around the center.
The renovation of the community center will have minimal impact on the operations of the facility, Lizama said, as both the pool and the meadow will remain open during it. An access gate to the pool will be installed on the meadow side of the property, he said.
Lizama and program director David Ross are moving their offices into a portable trailer in the center’s parking lot. That will eliminate the lot’s 11 parking spaces, but weekend/evening parking will be available at the adjacent Marin Horizon School.
“It will affect only the footprint of the building itself directly,” Lizama said.
The impact falls largely on the community organizations that use the center’s space for meetings and classes, from Pilates and Tai Chi classes to a puppy training class, AA meetings and Music Together workshops, Lizama said. He noted that he is working with all regular renters to find alternative space in the interim.
The center, which operates on an annual budget of approximately $210,000, will also lose a small amount of revenue brought in by rentals for birthday parties and the like, Lizama said.
“We’re trying to retain a seamless continuity here,” he said.
The center’s two largest annual programs – the swimming program and the summer day camp – will operate normally, though the latter might be trimmed from 10 to 8 weeks, Lizama said.
According to the Mill Valley Historical Society, the current community center is the third building to serve that function in Homestead Valley’s history:
The first was Homestead Hall, which served the community from about 1910 until about 1930 when it was sold and converted to a home. It was located on Linden Lane near Evergreen. The second was Brown's Hall on Miller Ave, which served from 1934 until 1972 when it was sold to become a Buddhist temple. The third is here next to [Marin Horizon School].
For more info on the Homestead Valley Community Center remodel, check out Homestead Headlines newsletter.
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