City continues to be hopeful that new community center will be complete by 8 month timeline
By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
WOODLAKE – Construction of Woodlake’s newest improvement is already underway. Just two weeks ago the City broke ground where the new community center is being built. As of now all of the details are buttoned up on the 12,500 square foot building, the only thing left to be figured out is the timeline.
According to community services director Jason Waters the initial timeline set for the project is eight months, per their contractors Clawson Construction out of Bakersfield. But as the seasons turn from fall to winter the completion date may be delayed with significant rain fall.
“The schedule right now is eight months but with rain it might slow things down and take a little longer,” said Waters.
But no matter how long construction may take, residents have a lot to look forward to when it is completed. Waters said that there will be a full sized basketball court, a meeting room that will also serve as the council chambers and a large multipurpose room including a kitchen. The details yet to be hashed out are who will run it. As of now the City said that they are unsure who might come in to run the senior center side of things. And internally they have also discussed who would run a full recreational basketball league. Waters added that a nonprofit like the Boys and Girls Club might come in for that purpose
The previous community center was recently demolished to make way for the new one named after Doris and Francis White. In May of 2015 the Woodlake Lions Club signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of Woodlake which gave the City the center $1 per year and the right to demolish. The only stipulations were that the Lions Club could use the new center for its weekly meetings and annual events, and that an area of the building will pay tribute to Doris and Francis White and that the property would revert back to the Lions Club if a center was not built by July 1, 2019. However, now that the building is under construction the MOU is no longer in effect.
Waters and city administrator Ramon Lara said that funding for the center came from a United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan of $3 million.
“There are a lot of advantages to financing it through USDA,” Waters added.
For instance, because the City got the loan through USDA the term of the loan is 40 years and the money can only specifically be used for the center. As well the interest of the loan is just above 2% making it for all intents and purposes low interest.