The San Jose Mercury News
December 28, 2018
By Kevin Kelly - Bay Area News Group


Seniors receive Thanksgiving dinner in November 2013 at the Veterans Memorial Senior Center in Redwood City.
The city is planning to tear down the existing senior center to rebuild a larger one in its place. (Daily News file)

Project would move YMCA to Red Morton Park, freeing up new green space for park user

Redwood City is planning to replace aging facilities at Red Morton Park and provide more green spaces too.

The city announced on Dec. 14 it will tear down the Veterans Memorial Senior Center and four other buildings at the park and build a modern senior center complex in its place, freeing up additional park space.

In addition, the YMCA facility will move from 1445 Hudson St. to the new complex, freeing up its current site for possible new city uses.

The existing senior center, senior center annex (old 49ers building), resource/gift shop building, Herkner Memorial Pool and NFL Alumni Association Building at Red Morton are aging and need upgrades to continue meeting the city’s changing needs, according to a city statement. The city decided to rebuild rather than renovate the facilities after polling residents.

“The rebuild decision was based on feedback gained from the community,” city publicist Meghan Horrigan said. “A majority of input received were in favor of this option. In addition, the rebuild provides more opportunities than the renovation would in terms of space and other opportunities. The renovation was fairly limiting overall.”

Rebuilding will result in additional space for more events in the senior center and a larger fitness center for year-round aquatic programs in the YMCA.

“We imagine the new senior center will offer more flexible space to provide additional programming and … the YMCA facility will add year-round aquatic programs, where today the city offers seasonal aquatic programming,” Horrigan said.

The new senior center will include a 400-seat theater, gymnasium, catering kitchen, conference space for the NFL Alumni Association, exhibit space for various branches of the armed services, multi-purpose rooms, senior club room, nonprofit partner offices, gardening space and a technology hub. The new YMCA will include a health and wellness center, swimming pools, child care, locker rooms and multipurpose spaces for adult, youth and family programs. All existing senior programs will remain free or low cost when the new joint facility opens, the city states.

The joint facility will have a maximum height of 45 feet, with up to 65,000 square feet of space dedicated to the senior center and up to 60,000 square feet for the YMCA. The project includes a three-level parking structure and a surface parking lot with a total of 430 spaces. A new access road from Valota Road to the parking structure may be included, a city document states.

The city and YMCA have contracted Berkeley-based ELS Architecture and Urban Design to lead the planning effort for the two new facilities, a process that will begin with a series of workshops to receive community input on design. The first workshop takes place Jan. 17, followed by additional meetings Jan. 31 and Feb. 22. All meetings have been scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. in the Redwood Room of the Veterans Memorial Senior Center at 1455 Madison Ave.

“The workshops are intended to be open house style and will offer the community an informational setting to share thoughts and concerns about the project,” according to the statement.

When the workshops are done, the proposed design is expected to be reviewed by the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission in early spring. The city also plans to release an online survey in early 2018 for additional input. Once a preferred design is chosen, the City Council could review it in March, then possibly select one in May. For more information on the project, visit

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