All Quiet at Jewish Community Center

Weight Watchers class moved next door to Tice Valley gym; preschool and adult centers closed last week.

The Contra Costa Jewish Community Center is no longer a hub of activity.

from its board to parents decrying the struggle to maintain membership and revenue growth.

The CCJCC website presents a cheery face to the world ("Celebrate Chanukah Dec. 21").

But if you look closely, under "Today's Events" are listed "Millman Center (adult day care) Closed, 0:00 a.m." and "Early Childhood Center Closed, 0:00 a.m."

The Weight Watchers class that used to meet at the JCC now meets next door at the Tice Valley Gymnasium, operated by the city of Walnut Creek. The city has a room for a classroom and exercise that is used for rentals and programming that is mostly filled, but can accommodate Weight Watchers, said Barry Gordon, the city's director of arts, recreation and community services.

By terms of the city's 99-year lease for Tice Valley Gymnasium, 20 percent of its hours are used for JCC purposes, Gordon said, and those exercise sessions and classes continue.

Since last week's abrupt announcement, JCC management has not responded to Walnut Creek Patch's calls and emails seeking comment on the closing.

Jojo Potato December 29, 2011 at 04:03 AM
What the heck are you all talking about? The JCC borrowed more money than they could pay back so they are gone. That's the way our system works, banks are very good at keeping track and shutting down non-payers. Get over it.
michael frederick December 29, 2011 at 07:32 AM
I'm glad you asked, Joseph, and I appreciate your curiousity. The Veterans' Bldg. was erected in 1925. When WC veterans returned home after WWI they lobbied the county to get these buildings erected in every city throughout CCC. Through its life it served as a meeting place for Veterans, of course. It also served as our Town Hall and the courtroom for WC's last Justice of the Peace, Betsy Rahn -- it was our courthouse. I will spare you the blow-by-blow on the SF architect the city hired to do a hatchet job here. Council did this, of course, because they don't anything much about the place, either -- ALL they do know is shopping. So, that's all that gets promoted and that's all you get exposed to. Suffice it to say, my family was 2/5 of the Board of Trustees that incorporated WC and my family is represented on every WC history book with a front cover picture. We're fairly prominent ... If I can ever answer any WC history questions for you, it would be my pleasure to share whatever I know or direct you to someone who knows better. I'm delighted to share an appreciation of the place with anyone curious enough to ask.
michael frederick December 29, 2011 at 09:58 AM
CJ, I don't know why "nobody really talks" to me. My guess would be they aren't from Orinda and don't possess sufficient local ignorance? Many might appreciate that I own a lot of commercial property and have been active downtown for decades? They might know that my great-grandfather dug the Old Tunnel and the family has promoted WC as a "hub" for over 140 years? Maybe they know his son was the supervisor for the Caldecott? Maybe they appreciate my helping Bob and Rob Schroder maintain the DBA, when it ran on a shoestring and few cared? I don't know... Which brings me to my main point: Should people restricted to regurgitating generic economics -- as locally ignorant as yourself -- really be determining the fate of community assets, when you obviously lack appreciation for them or ANYTHING beyond your rudimentary economic idealogy? I don't want to speculate upon Orinda assets -- that's for Orinda. I will say that those who have an appreciation for where they live shouldn't be silenced by NIMBY spewing civil engineers promoting their industry and/or livelihood over everything, including the city's identity. The WC's Vets' Bldg. symbolized a lot of very nice things about our community -- from the obvious down to the (donated) home of our first Black resident. It was razed by economically myopic morons who couldn't take the time to investigate it before pursuing their economic agenda. In a testament to their stupidity, the site remains vacant...
WC-Independent December 29, 2011 at 03:07 PM
MF - I do remember that white stucco building with some historic looking sign above the door. It was not maintained well, if at all, and hosted a jazzercise class etc. What was your recommendation for that building / site?
michael frederick December 30, 2011 at 08:57 AM
WCI, You are correct, the building suffered years of County neglect. It would've required on the order of $1M for asbestos removal, structural bracing, relocation(?). Put into context, this city just spent $13M for commercial parking to nowhere in Civic Park or, another way -- this would've been a one time expense comparable to what is sunk into Bedford annually. I recognized the city wanted the site to expand and tie together shopping -- fine. This building was moved many years ago -- it could've been again. I would've been OK with putting it anywhere around downtown for the Historical Society's use -- so residents could get a better sense of where we've been, how we got here, what's worked and what hasn't, why are some NIMBYs and city limit lines contrived ... Something like that, to honestly communicate, with a sense of gravitas and pride -- as opposed to dumping it in an outlying orchard or razing it. There are so many things that could've been done, if City Hall had an interest in promoting the city and its residents. The disparity between WC's self-defacement and neighboring cities is striking -- whether in terms of Danville's recent renovations, Concord's interpretation of state EIR requirements, San Ramon, Clayton, Martinez... I would've celebrated WHATEVER a City Hall promoting WC and its residents decided. Unfortunately, elections here are bought for them to prioritize shopping and redevelopment ($$$), not constituents. Thanks for asking.


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