Seaside picks up the ‘baton’ for good cause

The main hall redesign plan for Bob Chisholm Community Center.

The legacy of a man dedicated to helping others moves into a new phase in Seaside.

Board members and representatives of the Bob Chisholm Community Center went to the Seaside City Council April 11, to present an update on the main hall refresh and to invite residents to a taco feed fundraiser.

Chisholm, a former public works director and firefighter, was the inspiration for the center, which serves seniors and community groups in Seaside.

Chisholm died in 1997 attempting to save a man drowning in the surf just off the beach.

“Several months ago we appeared at one of your meetings with the architects and gave you a dream that we had,” Lou Neubecker told members of the council. “We want to let you to know we’re moving forward with that dream.”

Lighting, flooring, wall coverings and windows will be upgraded as part of the $175,000 project, he said.

Energy efficiency and acoustics of the main hall of the building at 1225 Avenue A will be enhanced The wood beams and tongue-and-groove ceiling will be restored.

Refurbishing the main hall is the first of three phases. Renovations to the center’s entryway and the classrooms will follow.

Along with some funding from the city, donations are being solicited through the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District.

The Bob Chisholm Community Center was originally property of the Catholic church.

Later the property was acquired by the city of Seaside as a community rental space. In the mid-1990s, under the direction of Chisholm, the building underwent a major renovation, adding a front office and two large meeting rooms onto to the north end of the building. The main hall was converted from a gymnasium into a large gathering space.

The commission’s fundraising goal is $80,000, said Darren Gooch, marketing manager for the recreation district. “The remainder we are hoping will come from the city of Seaside during their budgeting process in the coming month.”

A kickoff pledge drive began Thursday, April 28, with a taco feed served by commission members in the main hall of the center.

“We need to bring the center up to the 21st century,” Neubecker said to councilors. “We want to make this something proud for our community, and I think we’re on the right track.”

Gooch said he’s seen the committee really “pick up the baton” for this project.

“It makes me very proud to be part of that, and hopeful that we’ll meet this goal,” Gooch said. “I’m very excited. One of my commissioners said it best: ‘This is for the community and by the community.’”

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