A Community Center built by the ideas of its people for generations to come

Anthony Gutierrez
Staff Writer
April 13, 2016

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The results are in. The board members of the Rio Vista Community Center (RVCC) gave a few presentations about the data that they collected in regard to what Rio Vistans want in a community center at the cafeteria of DH White School last Monday.

James Nordin, President of RVCC, spoke to a room full of concerned members of the community about how data was interpreted from a previous meeting on suggestions of what they wanted in a community center.

“Our purpose today is to present to you our interpretations of these suggestions and ask for your feedback if what you see is workable,” Nordin said.

To the left side of the room, there were movie poster sized pages of recommendations from the last meeting and to the right side of the room, there were graphs and tables of data that summed up the highest ranking recommendations to the lowest on collected data.

Drew Halter, MPA student at Sonoma State University, said tonight’s subject is something dear to his heart and reported that he added up and categorized all the data that was given to him in an Excel document, which could be seen at the front of the room.

Derek Jones, Treasurer at RVCC, went into detail on these categories saying that, “It was vital for people to come to a community center for different purposes.”

These categories included: Learning (which can be interpreted as making discussion groups or tutoring), Medical Services (which would need a permanent service), Specialized services (which could incorporate a computer center or a kitchen), Performing Arts, Indoor Recreation and Outdoor Recreation, among other categories.

It is still up in the air about which categories get chosen for the community center. However, members of RVCC would like to focus on specific categories that will cater to donors for funding. Jones said that donors would be more likely to donate funds if a specific category gets enough interest and is planned for construction.

The location of the community center is still up in the air. Church Road is a possibility but nothing has been confirmed.

Linda Orrante, secretary at RVCC, gave a rundown on the ranking of some the services in a category.
For the infrastructure category, it was ranked from (1) medical social services (2) performing arts (3) outdoor space (4) recreation/ athletics (5) kitchen and food.

“We’re sensitive about not making any assumptions based upon on collected data and would like to confirm the results with the community,” she said.

For the outdoor space category, (1) soccer, basketball, tennis and softball were the highest ranking activities (2) other services that were suggested were a Jacuzzi, fire pit, greenhouse, picnic areas and a skate park, among other things.

Orrante took note of a certain demographic and what they wanted in a community center. This was on the youth and it was an unranked number of activities that included job fairs, job seminars, lessons on swimming, driving, flying, dance and a center for free WiFi and laser tag.

The next step for the community center is undetermined but members of RVCC would like their progress to be validated by the community and welcome any more suggestions that the public has for the community center.

The Treasurer of RVCC recommended that these categories could already be implemented in existing buildings. It was noted that the building process of the community center will take years but why wait until then? Jones said that there are buildings that have possibilities to house activities such as learning a new language, tutoring and teaching pottery, to name a few.

Adriana Bejarano, Executive Director at Rio Vista Care, said, “This is an effort for the whole community to be a part of. It’s something we’re building for the future generation. There’s a me generation and we want to build a future generation.”

Mayor of Rio Vista Norman Richardson said there had been funds that the city has been putting aside and Richardson was more than happy to donate some of that money if some conditions were met.

Towards the end of the town meeting, members of the audience were asked to give ideas on what was talked about. A youth suggested asking high schoolers, middle schoolers and elementary kids on what they wanted for better accuracy on things the young people wanted.

Another member suggested conducting a survey to be passed around for a wider collection of data.
Chandra Drury, Board Member of RVCC, gave a brilliant idea on taking action now. “We want to make a virtual community center. We have a website and we want to start the process now.”

She encourages people to submit their ideas on the website and participate at: www.riovistacommunitycenter.org

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