Seniors Hope for New Center in Cypress Park

By Gloria Angelina Castillo, EGP Staff Writer

The results of the survey are in. Members of the exclusive 50 and over club want to dance, take trips and be physically fit, according to a group of Cypress Park seniors who hope to start a new senior center in their Northeast Los Angeles community.

About 50 seniors gathered at the Rio de Los Angeles State Park community room on Tuesday to discuss the formation of a new ‘Senior Citizens Club.’ The group also wants the old Cypress Park Library on Pepper Avenue to become their new senior center.

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The old library on Pepper Avenue is boarded up and run-down, but seniors in Cypress Park see potential for a new home-away-from-home. EGP Photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo

The meeting dealt with the technical aspects of becoming a legitimate club under the Los Angeles Federation of Senior Citizen Clubs – including how to elect board members, the meeting and agenda process, fundraising and rules, like not playing bingo for money.

Some of the seniors estimate that Cypress Park has not had its own senior citizen’s club since the 1980’s or early 1990’s, but Guillermo Reyes, a member of the Cypress Park Neighborhood Council and the Friends of Cypress Park Community Improvement Association, says there’s new blood in the senior community who want to be more active.

According to Reyes, his mother Enriqueta Sánchez Muñoz who attended the meeting, was an active Angeleno during the 1960s movement. She and father Guillermo Reyes, Sr, have lived in the area since 1955. Other long-time Cypress Park seniors—Tony Valerio, a long-time now retired neighborhood barber; Mr. Ross, a World War II veteran, and Gloria Mendez, a volunteer reader at the Cypress Park Library, to name a few, attended the meeting to express support for a club in their neighborhood.

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Cypress Park Seniors at club start-up meeting on Sept. 15. EGP Photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo

The group is meeting at the Rio de Los Angeles State Park on an interim basis but hopes to find a permanent home at the old, now closed library on Pepper Avenue.

Although financially times are tough in the country and the city, the seniors hope to secure grant money to retrofit the old library and make it ADA (Americans With Disability Administration) accessible and to bring it up to code.

Tony Perez, a spokesperson for Councilman Ed P. Reyes who represents the area, says Reyes has directed the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks to “purchase” the old library from the Library Department for no more than $300,000 using Prop. 40 funding.

Reyes is also working with recreation and parks to apply for Proposition K funds to pay for the ADA upgrades. He is organizing a letters of support campaign among local groups to support the application.

“It needs about $2 million worth of ADA & general repairs at the site,” Perez told EGP in an email statement. “We are looking at all possible funding sources: State Proposition Funds, Federal Funding, etc to do the repairs needed for the Pepper Ave site.”
The Latino Diabetes Association is one group that has written a letter of support for the application.

Randy Muñoz, Executive Director Latino Diabetes Association, says the seniors of Cypress Park are an underserved population in a dense area. “There’s not a lot for them to do here,” he said.

For information regarding the group’s next planning meeting, call (323) 276-3015.

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September 17, 2009  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

Comments

One Response to “Seniors Hope for New Center in Cypress Park”

  1. m.fernandez on June 25th, 2010 10:39 pm

    i think this would be such a great idea. Every park has a place so seniors to go talk to others , do arts and crafts eat among friends and it is very sad that Cypress park has no such place.We are not going to stay young forever and where are we going to go to have fun??

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