Woodlake plans to build new recreation facility

Former Town Center commercial project has been reimagined as a public-private mixed use facility at the corner of Valencia and Naranjo boulevards

WOODLAKE – Two years ago the Town Center project was supposed to open its doors to retail, restaurants and office spaces at the entrance to downtown. Unfortunately, the project fell through but it did open the door to an opportunity for a new multi use facility featuring a community gymnasium and dance studio at the southwest corner of Valencia and Naranjo boulevards. 

“The idea came about out of necessity,” Woodlake Community Services Director Jason Waters explained. “We were quickly running out of space in our community center and needed to find a second location for parks and recreation, community events and meetings, etc.”

Waters explained that the city hired an architect a few years ago to create a facility that would house a gym, dance studio as well as additional spaces for activity. The new “town center” project will be 13,175 square feet and essentially “five buildings in one,” each building connected to the other but with varied facades. 

“We’re planning on having a gym, and then a dance studio, where we can hold our dance classes that we have in the city,” Waters said. “The three remaining buildings there will be for private businesses. People can lease out space for whatever business they want to operate.”

The architectural plans are now 90% complete. As it stands now, the gym is 3,760 square feet and will have a second story mezzanine. The dance studio will be 3,095 square feet. One of the three retail buildings has been designed for a restaurant. Once the plans have been completed they will go out for bids on the construction contract. 

Several businesses have expressed interest in leasing out spaces in the mixed use building; however, Waters said there have not been any formalized lease agreements yet. The city will not decide how to fund the project until plans are 100% finalized. Woodlake will either apply for USDA Rural Development funding or a traditional bond, depending on the type of loan they’ll want to pursue.

The city’s main goal is to free up space in the existing community center which is often booked, leaving events and activities without options. Waters said the community center houses all the city’s programs and has become increasingly congested. Along with the dance studio, wrestling will also be moved into the new facility.

Everyone seems to be very excited about this beautiful new building. The future home for this center currently houses an old car wash. The only concern locals have is if there will be an alternative once this car wash is gone. Locals need not worry, Waters explained that plans have been approved for a new car wash near the AutoZone in town.

The hope for this facility is to break ground in early 2023. 

“[The start date] is going to be dependent on A, locking up funding between the funding sources, and B, we’re also paying close attention to inflation and material costs. So we’re trying to time bidding as best we can with that, which is kind of a big question mark,” Waters explained.

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