Senior Center receives $500,000 from county

From left to right SCV Senior Center Executive Director Kevin MacDonald, Senior Field Deputy for Supervisor Barger Stephanie English, SCV Senior Center Board Chair Peggy Rasmussen and LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger tour the new senior center under construction on Golden Valley Road. Cory Rubin/The Signal

The new Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center building on Golden Valley Road, slated to be completed in spring 2019, got an unexpected half-million-dollar contribution to its capital campaign on Monday, delivered personally by county Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

Executive Director Kevin MacDonald and Senior Center Board President Peggy Rasmussen welcomed Barger and her justice deputy, Stephanie English, to the new center’s construction site for what MacDonald and Rasmussen initially assumed was a tour.

The group walked through the future location of the two-story, 30,000-square-foot building on Golden Valley Road, as MacDonald and Rasmussen explained the placements and purposes of all the rooms.

MacDonald noted the senior population had been growing, and now they were in need of more services such as a health and wellness center in partnership with Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, a second-career center, a technology center, an education center in partnership with College of the Canyons, a financial information center in partnership with AARP and a center for senior rights.

At the end of the tour, Barger — who represents the county’s 5th District, which includes the SCV — unveiled the real reason she had come: to present MacDonald, Rasmussen and the senior center with $500,000 from the county to help with their campaign to raise enough funds to complete the new facility’s construction.

“It’s a surprise, and it was absolutely out of the blue,” Rasmussen said. “But it was a delight.”

“We found out that we had the ability to put aside money for this senior center. Rather than doing a phone call it’s nice to surprise somebody,” Barger said. “We’re going to be doing fundraising down the line, so this is a nice jump start to getting more money going.”

MacDonald said the contribution would help significantly in closing the gap in the campaign.

“We’re thrilled with this additional support from the county,” he said. “This has been long overdue for the seniors, and it’s great to have everyone come together. They believe in the seniors for today, and the seniors for tomorrow.”

MacDonald said the senior center would continue reaching out to the community in the next six weeks as its campaign closes out to finish raising all the funds.

“It’s not fully done, but it gives you a bare bone idea of what’s in store,” Barger said of seeing the site.

“I’m excited,” she said. “To feel the depth of all the services they’re going to have, it’s really something that the city’s been committed to, and it’s going to be holistic. They’re going to be always looking to reinvent themselves to address the needs of the seniors.”

The capital campaign has $500,000 more to raise through the fall, and the estimated completion date for construction is February. The Senior Center programs will move to the new facility in March or April, and the center will be officially open by spring, MacDonald said.

L.A. County has now donated $3.5 million, which matches the city of Santa Clarita’s contribution. Additional funds have been raised from community fundraising and private party donations.

The $11.4 million building will replace the existing senior center on Market Street in Newhall.

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