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Bayshore Community Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 17, 2002
Press Contact:  
John C. Martin, City Manager, City of Daly City
or Dan Dadoun, Executive Director, Mid-Peninsula Boys & Girls Club
(650) 991-8127
(650) 347-9891
   
BAYSHORE COMMUNITY CENTER:
DREAM MOVES TOWARD REALITY

FORMER DALY CITY COUPLE DONATES $1 MILLION,
PROJECT BREAKS GROUND THIS SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19

Daly 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 improvements program.

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 new facility.

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 three finalists.

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 completion date.

The 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,” Dadoun remarked.

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,” Dadoun recounted.

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 spare.

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,” Dadoun noted.

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: dand@midpenbgc.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,” he added.

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.