The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors recently approved a one-time grant for the Town of Los Gatos to help upgrade senior-serving facilities. The funds, part of the Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget, will be used for ADA-related improvements to the Los Gatos Adult Recreation Center, originally built in the late 1970s.
“The older adult population of Los Gatos, and Santa Clara County as a whole, is projected to increase significantly by 2030,” said County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who proposed the allocation. “As we look for opportunities to support and provide older adults and seniors with programs and services that meet their needs, it’s important that senior centers be both safe and accessible.”
The Adult Recreation Center, located next to the Town’s Civic Center and library, once housed various Town operations. The two-story building is currently home to Los Gatos-Saratoga Recreation (LGS Recreation) and is the Town’s older adult services and activities hub through the LGS Recreation 55 Plus Program.
The 55 Plus Program provides services to Los Gatos older adults such as continuing education opportunities, health services and nutrition referrals, counseling, and volunteer and socialization opportunities. Programming is divided into weekly and monthly activities, as well as annual events.
According to county officials, the number of older adults in Los Gatos grew by approximately 30% since 2010, and is now over a third of the total population of the town.
“The Adult Recreation Center is the primary location for senior services in Los Gatos,” said Mayor Rob Rennie. “The Town is committing its own General Fund resources towards these projects and appreciates the partnership with the County.”
A recent ADA audit of the Center showed that it comes up short on several fronts, including the restrooms and flooring. Due to complications with plumbing, HVAC and the elevators, a brand-new, gender-neutral restroom will have to be built in the space where the break room currently exists.
In addition, the flooring of the Center has reached the end of its useful life. According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 30 million falls are reported by older adults, of which 32,000 result in deaths. Replacing the flooring of the multi-purpose room in the Center to remove irregularities in the surface that may cause tripping will help minimize the risk of falls.
“The Adult Recreation Center serves as the primary community center for older adults in Los Gatos,” said Nancy Rollet, executive director of LGS Recreation. “Many of our members rely on mobility devices and greatly appreciate seeing their safety needs addressed in meaningful ways.”
The total budget for LGS Adult Recreation Center infrastructure improvements is more than $500,000. The Town of Los Gatos received a federal Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $140,000. The County grant, sponsored by Simitian, is $250,000. The remainder of the cost will be absorbed by the Town’s budget.
“We at the County are always on the lookout for effective ways to join forces with our local government partners in the towns and cities,” Simitian said. “Meeting the needs of older adults is not something a single entity or organization can do alone. It will take our joint efforts to ensure older adults are taken care of in the communities where they live. This combination of funding sources is a great reminder that we can do so much more if everybody does their part.”