New life for park’s old clubhouse? |

New life for park’s old clubhouse?

A tired, 90-year-old building in the middle of Memorial Park may see a renaissance if a local community group gets its way.

Gold Country Community Center, which operated out of a building at the fairgrounds until its 20-year lease expired recently, is partnering with the City of Grass Valley and fundraising in hopes of developing a multi-purpose, all-ages community center.

“Even much smaller places have them,” said Gold Country Community Center Board President Beth Moore, who is spearheading the effort. “We don’t, and it’s just time.”

Proceeds from the “Manna Fest” – set for Sunday in Pioneer Park – are going to the building fund, which already has about 75 percent of the funding it wants from donors.

While nothing is set in stone, “We have a lot of public private partnerships, and we’re very open to working with them,” said Mayor Lisa Swarthout.

Grass Valley won a $100,000 grant to make improvements to the property and must use the money by 2012. But that money isn’t enough to make all the desired improvements.

If the project gets approved, city and Gold Country Community Center funding will combine for a “radical renovation.”

The existing, 2,000-square-foot clubhouse was built in 1921 and was used for dances, pancake breakfasts and other community events. Siding is rotted, there is no heating or air conditioning, and the clubhouse is in disrepair.

Since budget cuts eliminated the Grass Valley Parks and Recreation department in summer 2009, it has largely remained vacant.

Gold Country hopes to step in the gap and provide the services missing after the parks and recreation department dissolved.

Ideas for the clubhouse are diverse: sewing, cooking and photography classes, a computer lab for seniors during the day and students during the evenings, and activities for teens.

Gold Country is currently operating the senior meals program from the Nevada City Senior Apartments, but wants to expand the scope of programs.

“Currently, the most likely user is a senior,” Moore said. “They want to see more activities for all ages.”

In addition to fundraising, Gold Country needs to develop a full “business plan,” which will later move forward for planning commission and city council review, according to Public Works Director Tim Kiser.

Another plus: The center would bring more people to the park, Swarthout said, and that would cut down on mischief and crime.

To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail or call (530) 477-4247.

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