City - It was an ambitious dream from the
start: to build a multi-use community facility,
a new library plus a youth recreational center
in the Bayshore neighborhood. About three years
ago, the concept turned into a plan, with the
City of Daly City providing the land – the
scenic Bayshore Heights Park no less – and
allocating $2 million toward a three-story community
center, as part of its five-year $40 million capital
To make the dream a reality, however, Daly City
officials searched for a collaborative partner
that shared their vision for after-school educational
and recreational programs for the local youth.
They found a creative associate with a proven
track record in the Mid-Peninsula Boys & Girls
Club, which agreed to operate the facility’s
Youth Center and assist in fundraising for the
The project’s price tag of $8 million became
the next challenge. Adding to the city’s
initial $2 million contribution, the State of
California promised a $1.25 million grant. With
a lofty goal to raise the remaining $5 million
in two years, a fundraising committee was formed,
comprised of neighborhood advocates, local businesses,
Mid-Peninsula Boys & Girls Club representatives
and city officials.
“Some unique situations require unique solutions.
From the onset, the Bayshore project called for
an innovative approach. Unlike most city projects,
the funding source lagged behind the strong desire
and the vision for the center itself. Those involved
were quick to think outside the box, and despite
the obstacles and unforeseen challenges along
the way, the project and the dream prevailed,”
commented Mayor Michael P. Guingona.
In March 2000, the City of Daly City conducted
a design competition to combine the community’s
input with professional creative vision for the
proposed $8 million project. Of the three finalists,
EKONA Architecture + Planning of San Francisco
was selected by the 12-member Selection Committee
and received a $20,000 cash award, in addition
to a $10,000 honorarium provided to each of the
With renderings from the design competition (a
process that would have normally cost around $75,000),
the Bayshore Community Center Capital Campaign
Board, the project’s fundraising committee,
now had the creative visuals to show potential
project partners, donors and benefactors. Initial
project partners included the San Mateo County
Board of Supervisors and Housing Authority, Bayshore
School District, Bayshore Child Care Services,
Bayshore Youth and Senior Organizations, and Residents
Associations from the Bayshore neighborhood.
The fundraising phase was launched in July 2000.
Small donations, major contributions and those
in-between soon totalled to an additional $2 million.
One supporter stood out: a $1 million check from
the Packard Foundation.
“Receiving the Packard Foundation grant
gave the committee the much-welcomed boost it
needed to keep focused and determined to reach
its goal,” said Vice-Mayor Adrienne Tissier,
who along with Councilmember Madolyn Agrimonti,
served on the fundraising committee. It is co-chaired
by Katharine Slater-Carter and Hal Bobrow.
“The Packard Foundation has consistently
given back to the community in the Peninsula,
especially to the Mid-Peninsula Boys & Girls
Club. Without its support, our program and services
would be greatly reduced,” commented Daniel
Dadoun, the club’s Executive Director.
During this period, the federal Department of
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved a
loan against the City’s future Community
Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to finance
an additional amount towards the project.
Last August 2001, the City Council awarded EKONA
Architecture + Planning of San Francisco $670,000
for design and construction support services.
The project schedule that was submitted at the
time indicated August 2003 as the construction
Council’s approval meant that city officials
were committed to build the 26,000 square foot
multi-functional facility, which includes a health
and fitness center, arts and crafts studio, technology
center, and multi-purpose community meeting rooms.
The project would be located on Martin Street,
adjacent to Daly City’s Fire Station No.
93 and a newly renovated tot lot maintained by
the Parks and Recreation Department.
For the Daly City Public Library, the Council’s
approval signaled more than just a possibility,
but concrete plans to replace its current 1,700
square foot Bayshore branch to an expansive 4,400
square foot, third floor location with a view
of the hills and bay, complete with a children’s
room, a 10-person computer lab, and adult study
and reading areas.
From the vantage point of the Mid-Peninsula Boys
& Girls Club, a major hurdle had been overcome,
and the state-of-the-art dream facility that aims
to serve 500 to 750 people daily is within sight.
“The Center will house a safe, secure and
nurturing haven for local youths. It will be a
wonderful place to learn, to laugh and to dream,”
However, in August 2001, the dream project that
was highly dependent on an ambitious fundraising
campaign got a dose of reality check. California
encountered a statewide energy crisis, followed
by a downturn in the high-tech industry. The September
11, 2001 tragedy further worsened the state’s
economic fortunes. The $1.25 million funding that
the state awarded to the Bayshore project in July
2000 was re-allocated.
“We were so close to reaching our funding
goal, and then, we received the official news
about the state’s budget shortfall, which
meant losing the $1.25 million grant. With the
critical economic conditions that affected public
as well as private funding sources, we didn’t
have many untapped prospective benefactors, even
fewer still who could replace such a sizable grant.
The Bayshore Community Center dream was in danger
of being delayed. That is, until August 16, 2002,”
The Mid-Peninsula Boys & Girls Club was celebrating
its 47th anniversary in Foster City on August
16th when during the dinner auction, the announcement
was made that equally stunned and elated the 300
plus attendees. Robert and Rita DeLue of Hillsborough,
former Daly City residents, said they were donating
$1 million to the Mid-Peninsula Boys & Girls
Club to replace the monies the state couldn’t
Why Daly City? Mr. DeLue established his insurance
company in Daly City in 1956 when he founded Acsia
Insurance, a pioneer in underwriting long-term
care policies for seniors. The DeLues lived in
the Westlake Apartments before purchasing their
first home in 1962 on Huntington Drive in the
St. Francis Heights area. Mr. DeLue sold his company
in 1997 and retired two years later.
“In my most optimistic state, I hoped for
something extraordinary like this to happen, but
such a generous and loving gesture of this magnitude
is way off the chart. I have known Robert and
Rita for two years. While their $1 million donation,
especially to a project for kids, was totally
in character, it was also a most joyous surprise,”
Despite the sizable contributions by the DeLues,
the project is still about $1 million short of
its funding goal, which includes funds for furniture
and equipment for the facility. For more information
on the Bayshore Community Center and Library /
DeLue Boys and Girls Club project, contact Daniel
Dadoun, Executive Director of the Mid-Peninsula
Boys and Girls Club at (650) 347-9891, extension
100, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“I am going over my personal and professional
address book once more. This time with a finer
tooth comb, just in case I missed anyone the first
time,” Dadoun said. “I am also asking
every member of the capital campaign board to
do the same, along with all of our other donors,”
At its meeting this past Monday (October 14),
the City Council approved the Bayshore project
design documents, and unanimously voted to authorize
approximately $7 million construction work to
be taken up to bid. The project has a revised
schedule, which indicates that in January 2003,
the construction contract will be awarded, with
construction work to begin in April 2003.
The dream – now called the Bayshore
Community Center and Library / DeLue Boys &
Girls Club – is expected to open
in April 2004, a year and a half after the groundbreaking
ceremony, which will be held starting
at 11 a.m. this Saturday, October 19, at Bayshore
Heights Park, located at Martin Street, between
Fire Station No. 93 and Rio Verde Street.
Daly City’s dreamers and dream makers will
surely be in attendance. The community is invited
to join them.