JWG (jwg) wrote,

Meeting with the Architects on the Dance space in the Youth Center

I've reported previously about this aspect of my civic work/lobbying concerning the dance space in the new youth center that replaces the VFW hall that hosted weekly contra dances, swing, and tango.

This morning four of the dancers met with the Architect , Rich Rossi, the Deputy City Manager and some of his staff for us to present our desires. It was a good meeting - we were well prepared having had a preparation meeting on Saturday morning and then going over and modifying the resulting document in our planning Yahoo group. This meeting did not have the City Manager who was against us for quite a while, the Deputy CM is a reasonable person who I've dealt with a lot before.

We are asking for 4000 sq ft (the VFW size), an excellent floor and finish, a good sized stage, a permanently installed sound system, good acoustics and AC, nice ambiance, a lobby outside, place to store coats and shoes, storage place for tables and chairs, and a small kitchen for snack food, water, and ice. They listened to us and asked some good questions about how we used the space so I think what we want is well understood. We emphasized that much of what we want will be useful for groups other than us. This building also will also house a youth center ( the main reason for the project) who will be able to use this space. A separate part of the building will house the VFW post since it was their land and building that is being replaced.

We were cautioned that we might not get everything we wanted and to not think that they are breaking any promises. They have lots of constraints to fit in the lot size, meet all the program needs, and keep the various groups who will be using the building happy. He also requested that we not be overly vocal in public meetings because if people think our requests are dominating that may cause more trouble. They will need a zoning variance so dealing with the neighbors is another issue. He wants us to continue to work behind the scenes and promised that we'd be in the loop.

I have lots of trust in the Rossi. Based on several past experiences he is quite reasonable and I think they will do their best to meet our desires. He ran through many volcanoes and earthquakes during the library project and always seemed quite fair and pragmatic while dealing with angry people and conflicting demands. When they were renovating a city building next door to our house he met with some of the neighbors about a bunch of issues with the parking lot, the lighting, the overhead wires, and the street paving - he committed to and did everything we asked for.

In a few weeks we will see the detailed plans and I am hopeful that they will design a good youth center building that includes a good dance space.

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