The future of Stoneman is still unknown as San Marino community members and city council disagree on what to do with the property.
The site is currently being used to house the Recreation Department staff as well as for limited children’s programs.
San Marino City Manager John Schaefer said his sense of the community’s desires for Stoneman is to preserve at least some of the building. Residents also want the facility to fully meet all the recreational needs of the community.
He added that people were generally supportive of the city buying Stoneman in July, 2012.
An ADA assessment has been conducted to determine what it would take to upgrade the facility as well as how much it would cost.
City council could say it just wants to make ADA improvements, and do nothing else, Schaefer said. Or, council members could say they want to go beyond the ADA improvements.
They could also decide to preserve the entire building, preserve some of it, or tear the whole thing down.
Information is currently being collected to deter mine exactly what needs to be improved at Stoneman. Services and inventory will be reviewed to create the first snapshot of the facility, said Community Services Director Cindy Collins. A more in-depth profile will be completed in the future.
At the end of April, the profile will be given to city council from the Recreation Department. This will help council decide how to proceed.
Mayor Allan Yung said ADA upgrades alone have been estimated to cost about $1 million. A refurbishment would cost approximately $11 million, while a demolition and new structure of similar size and shape would cost $9 million.
“It seems that if the city wants to do anything special, the building should just be torn down,” Yung said, but it’s clear the community does not want that. The city also does not want to sell the property because it is the only open space in San Marino.
The most cost-effective plan right now is to comply with ADA regulations and possibly add in a fresh coat of paint and less expensive heater and air conditioning units, Yung said. This could cost $1-2 million.
Vice Mayor Richard Sun said he has no strong opinion on what to do, but he will support what residents want. After a community survey in 2002, Stoneman was identified as a possible location for a new community center. However, many people also said they did not want to see Stoneman torn down; at least not completely.
Sun recommended holding a fundraising event similar to one held for the Crowell Public Library during its planning stages if residents want a community center at Stoneman. This fundraiser would help prevent the need for a bond, especially since San Marino Unified School District is currently considering a local bond to help build or renovate facilities at each school site in the city.
Councilmember Richard Ward said he would like to see the building be demolished, but architectural features should be preserved.
Councilmember Steve Talt said a needs assessment should be conducted. He believes a “wants assessment” has already been completed, but the city should not spend money just because they want something.
“We need to know what our needs are, not just what we want,” Talt said.
They can then determine costs based on the needs, and council can decide how to proceed, Talt said.
Councilmember Steven Huang said he is still undecided on what the city should do with Stoneman. Since the city has millions in pension liability, Huang said he would like to wait for the ad hoc committee to see if there is a way to save money and pay back the liability. If there is a surplus, that money can be used for Stoneman.
Then the city can conduct a survey to see what the community wants, he said.
Additionally, he said he was concerned the building is not earthquake-proof, and is not a safe building for those who come to the site.
“We need to find a way everyone is happy,” Huang said.