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Vet’s Hall under RCCS management and looking for suggestions

Thursday, October 25th, 2012 | Posted by

Guerneville Veterans Hall

In August the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted to turn over management of four veterans buildings  to non-profits, a move  expected to save the county hundreds of thousands of dollars. With  River to Coast Children’s Services being chosen. The group was awarded a 15-year lease agreement and will be reimbursed in an amount not to exceed $75,000 over the first two years for start-up costs and kitchen upgrades.

A forum was was held the On the evening of Thursday November 1,  at Guerneville’s Vet’s Memorial hall for the purpose of introducing the community  to it’s new managers, River to Coast Children’s Services, and to seek input from the community about how the facility may best be used by the community. Jynx Lopez, Executive Director of RCCS also spoke briefly about how RCCS serves  the west county.
Founded in 1976,  RCCS., is currently celebrating 35 years of service to west Sonoma County children and their families, providing an emergency food pantry, diapers, infant formula, car safety seats, emergency meds and a variety of  referral and support services.

Some 35 people attended the gathering which was chaired by David Cameron who is the program manager for the Vet’s Hall, and who worked for the last two years as manager of River Lane Resort,  on Guerneville’s First Street,  across the street from River to Coast Children’s Services’ offices.

David Cameron and Jynx Lopez

Cameron spoke about making the Vet’s Hall a successful “active and vibrant” facility with plans to renovate it and to convert the kitchen into a “full commercial kitchen” using county funds to do so. In answer to a question by KGGV radio show host and teacher Darlene Kersnar, Cameron explained that use of all the Vet’s building’s rooms, including the kitchen, the conference room and the club room would all be available for use. There’s  a basement but it was badly damaged during the February, 1986 flood and never repaired.
Cameron said “public involvement” was needed and asked for suggestions for programs and events, noting that getting “people through the door”
was of great importance in order that the potentially versatile multi- use facility not be wasted for lack of use. The charge for usage, said Cameron, will be substantially less than when it was under management of State Parks.
Possible uses suggested were a convention hall, a teen center, a tool library and a  venue for live music that’s considerably larger that
those which are currently available. He also mentioned use as a
“share exchange co-work space” for small businesses. Cameron also mentioned a scheduled Hogmanay Hootenany on December 31, explaining Hogmanay was the Scottish word for New Years Eve.
The attendees were asked to fill out available suggestion cards and some of the ideas were art, exercise and a clothing exchange for school-age children. Dance classes, a concert hall, movie theater and gathering place for teens and  occasionally, a dog and cat adoption center were also suggested. To see all the suggestions that were submitted by those in attendance, see “comments” below this post and please consider making suggestions of your own.

Kayte Guglielmino of the River C. of C. spoke about past uses which included a meeting place for girl scouts, tap dance and ballet lessons, and a dance marathon which she might have won had not her partner fallen asleep. She also mentioned her mother took exercise classes there.
Cameron encouraged input and suggestions from anyone and everyone and stated that his door at his RCCS office is always open . His phone number is 604-7725 and he may also be reached at dcameron@rccservices.org
and at www.rccservices.org.

  • http://www.rrsisters.org Mary Agneberg

    Sorry I missed this meeting, I’m excited about the idea of “share exchange co-work space.” Make it a WiFi hotspot & ESL/spanish classes would be beneficial, and a career center of some sort. Were minutes taken at this meeting?

    • Stephen Gross

      Herein is a list of ideas thoughtfully compiled by David Cameron, the Vet Hall’s new manager:

      Art & Craft classes for kids & adults
      Scouting/ Boys & Girls Club
      Holiday craft/arts fairs/fundraisers
      Education, dance (ballet, jazzercise) and fitness classes
      Dog and cat adoption program
      Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga and pilates classes
      CPR classes
      Childrens Clothing swap/trade
      Education Seminars/lectures – natural and cultural resources
      An upgraded facility for wedding and conference rental
      Annual vets hall fundraiser and heritage event
      Movie night
      Memorial services, gatherings and lectures
      S.R.J.C. Extension Classes
      Dog Park and Agility Course
      Park & Ride sharing location
      Concerts, theater, dances
      Cooking classes, canning groups
      Community Bulletin Board
      Veterans Garden and plaque around flag pole to honor our local veterans
      Gourmet food Truck Festival
      Earth Day Sustainability or Green Biz Fair
      Art Programs connected to the Artwalk and an Annual Street Festival
      Community Dinners
      Commercial kitchen
      After school program for middle & high-schoolers
      There was also a consensus that the priority upgrades to the facility should be the kitchen, acoustic and aesthetic improvements to the hall and wireless internet.

  • http://www.guernevillevetshall.org David Cameron

    Hi Mary

    The hotspot is a high priority and the other suggestions are great ideas. We did not take minutes but I would be happy to send you the list of suggestions that participants came up with!

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Stephen Gross, The River correspondent

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