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Commentary: 'Courier' Article Is Wrong on Roxbury Park Master Plan

Recreation and Parks Chair Alan Block writes that the proposed Roxbury Community Center is not meant to be used as a banquet facility, as reported in the "Beverly Hills Courier."

Dear Editor, 

This letter is written in response to the Courier’s un-bylined Nov. 4 first-page article captioned “Roxbury Park Puts City into Banquet Business.” The facts regarding the proposed Roxbury Community Center are as follows:

The proposed multi-purpose room is not intended, designed or equipped to serve as a banquet and catering facility. One only has to look at the size of the proposed kitchen of 625 square feet and its limited equipment to confirm the same. In comparison, Greystone, which is intended as a banquet and catering facility, has a fully equipped catering kitchen containing 1,315 square feet, or more than twice the size of that proposed for the Community Center kitchen. The proposed Community Center kitchen has been designed to satisfy the standards of the County of Los Angeles for the Senior Nutrition Program. Although the proposed multi-purpose room will on occasion be used to serve seniors meals, the existing Roxbury Community Center has done so for years. The fact is a 300-seat banquet facility was specifically deleted from an earlier concept of the Community Center by the City Council in May 2008. To state that the now-proposed Community Center is intended or will be able to compete with hotels, restaurants and temples in our community as a venue for weddings and other events is absurd. If approved by the City Council, the Community Center will be built with all of the amenities of a gymnasium and will be large enough for one single, full-size basketball court—not two.  

The proposed Community Center will provide an additional 67 parking spaces over and above the parking presently available, and is in compliance with an independent parking analysis commissioned by the City Council in 2008, which concluded that a total 254 parking spaces would be necessary at Roxbury Park to accommodate the parking needs for the proposed Center and the park. Interestingly the City Council, at the urging of area residents and local homeowners associations, deleted plans for an additional two-level parking structure under the existing tennis courts.

The plan for the Community Center as proposed today is in substantial compliance with the plan approved by the City Council in May 2008. That plan was only approved after more than 12 meetings with Roxbury Park shareholders and 11 earlier conceptual designs. The proposed Community Center will sit on a footprint substantially identical to the size of the existing footprint and will be comparable in size to the existing Community Center with the interior senior courtyard enclosed. The estimated cost of the proposed Community Center has already been included in this year’s City budget and approximately 50 percent of the estimated construction costs will come directly from Recreation and Parks funds, which cannot be used for any other purpose other than recreation and park use.    

The building plans to construct the proposed Community Center are presently out to bid. Hopefully the bids will come in as previously estimated. If not, the plans for the Community Center will have to be revised. In either event, no final action will be taken with regard to the proposed Community Center without future public hearings.

Respectfully,

Alan Robert Block, Chair
City of Beverly Hills Recreation and Parks Commission  

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