Smith presents $450,000 to Bella Vida

Assembywoman Christy Smith, right, presents a $450,000 check from the State of California to, from left, SCV Senior Center Immediate Past President, Peggy Rasmussen, Executive Director Kevin MacDonald and President Elizabeth Hopp during the Senior Recourses Fair at the Bella Vida Senior Center in Santa Clarita on Wednesday, October 02, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

The new, multi-million-dollar Bella Vida senior center is one step closer to reaching full funding, thanks in part to a $450,000 check that Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, presented at the senior center Wednesday. 

The financial support was awarded as a grant from the state’s budget to help close the funding gap in the construction of the Canyon Country site, which opened in April.  

“But the (senior center) team, just in order to get here (from its former building) on time, came just a little bit short on cash and resources to do both the move and then to get programming underway right away,” Smith said during a resource fair she hosted with Bella Vida. “And so, I was so proud to be able to make one of my first budget asks to the governor and his team for $450,000 to support this center.” 

Smith’s resource fair welcomes 400 at Bella Vida

The new site is a 30,000-square-foot building that offers six multipurpose rooms, a library, fitness and dance studio and a kitchen designed to prepare 500 meals a day — a building larger than the former site in Newhall that limited operations and the number of visitors it could hold. 

Construction was made possible through multiple avenues such as a 2.5-acre donation for the land from developers Synergy and Brookfield Homes, and thousands of donors who gave back through fundraisers and matching programs. The city of Santa Clarita and Los Angeles County each contributed $3.6 million. 

“This is a beautiful space we can share with the community and the seniors,” Peggy Rasmussen, one of the project’s lead organizers and former president of the board of directors for the SCV Committee on Aging, which oversees the center, said in April when Bella Vida officially opened to the public. 

“I’ve never seen this many people,” Elizabeth Hopp, new senior center board president, said Wednesday. “I’m absolutely delighted that we have the facility to do this and to take care of this many people, and we thank the community, individuals and businesses that stepped up to help us build this.” 

With all donations counted, about $200,000 is still needed to fully close the funding gap, and fundraisers will be organized to cover costs, according to Kevin MacDonald, executive director of the center. 

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