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LAGUNA NIGUEL : City to Go Ahead With Seniors' Center

April 24, 1993|GEOFF BOUCHER

Despite a funding shortage of more than $600,000, the City Council this week voted to move forward with plans for the long-awaited senior citizens' center.

A commitment from area senior citizens' groups to raise $250,000 toward the center, along with the high priority placed on the center's construction by city leaders, led to the unanimous vote, council members said.

The council voted unanimously to use money from the Laguna Niguel Community Services District's reserves and private fund raising to make up the $617,280 needed to complete the project.

Hal Bayer, a member of the Seniors Committee of Laguna Niguel, said matching funds will be sought from area developers, while money from the general public will be raised through service clubs and a door-to-door campaign.

Designs for the 14,060-square-foot center, planned for the lot on the southwest corner of Moulton Parkway and Aliso Creek Road, include a fitness room, billiards room, library, classroom, gift shop and kitchen. For years, officials have pointed to the center as the city's top capital improvement priority.

The council had set aside $2.7 million for the center, expecting that amount to be about $318,000 short of the project's total cost. But the lowest bid submitted by a field of 10 contractors showed the shortfall to be almost double that figure.

Rancho Cucamonga contractor Martin J. Jaska Inc. had the lowest bid with $2.8 million, which pushes the grand total for the project to about $3.3 million. Jaska has built senior citizens' centers in West Covina and Bellflower.

Council members could have trimmed the cost of the center by scaling down the project, but representatives from senior citizens' groups urged them to keep the plans intact.

"We don't want to give up any of the items that made this the quality project it is," said Roger Lance, a member of the Seniors Committee.

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