Council reallocates OES grant funding for community center

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By Brandon McCapes
Express Correspondent

The Winters City Council reallocated funds from the senior center to the community center at its April 19 meeting.

The City of Winters recently obtained two California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) grants to the total of $180,000 to in grants for back up generators at the Senior Center and Community Center.

In a discussion item, council members voted to reassign the grant funds, which can only be used for specific purposes, to the community center alone, as the senior center project is not far enough along for the projects to be completed prior to the expiration of the grant funds in November and December next year.

Additionally, City Manager Kathleen Salguero Trepa assured council members that when the Senior Center is far enough along to install a back up generator, there are several funding options available to the city to make the install, including pulling from the Park Development Impact Fee Fund, as well as other sources, should the $4.2 million grant to construct the senior center not cover the cost.

“So what we’re recommending this evening is that the full $180,000 be reallocated to the existing community center. We are making this recommendation so that we don’t lose these two grants,” Trepa said. “This is also an option for the council to consider investing in the Community Center or other projects that are transformational on behalf of our community.”

The Winters Community Center is somewhat in a state of disrepair, with problems such as needing a commercial kitchen, new roofing, dry rot and improvements to the restrooms. Council members were eager to use the funds to help repair the center.

“I adore the Community Center,” Councilmember Jesse Loren said. “It’s a jewel for this town…I do not support flattening it and letting some private developer put a restaurant there. I think that would really misuse the property that we own. I think we should make it a priority.”

Mayor Wade Cowan said he supported doing major upgrades to the facility, saying it was much more reasonable and realistic to improve the community center rather than build a new one, and said that the fact Trepa had backup plans to replace the funds at the senior center was reassuring.

Trepa said staff will include community center items in the upcoming five-year Capital Improvement Plan.

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