In November 2000 the voters of San Jose approved construction of new community centers. However, with the dot-com bust the city could not afford to operate both the new and the old facilities. Starting in 2005 Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhoods (PRN), the City of San Jose department that controls Houge, circulated a plan to close all of the older centers (including Houge). Mike Koop met with the PRN on several occasions to explain our use of Houge and why it should continue. PRN presented its plan to the council in winter of 2006. The council’s response was “wrong answer!” PRN approached the council for a second time in April 2008 with a plan to “reuse” the older centers. “Reuse” means they will try to get other groups to make use of the facilities. For example, Houge is located next to a day care center. By all indications the day care center has arranged to use the uncontested Houge Building 2 (where the rest rooms are located).
The ReUse Proposal
The PRN released the Request for Proposal (RFP) for reuse on July 15. It imposes extremely tight deadlines to respond. The board is required to submit its response by August 22 with no possibility for extension.
At this point the board has a critical need for an attorney. This is a contract and we need to be sure we understand and have dealt with all of the issues.
During the next month the club must meet a tight schedule of required meetings. It must also put together a proposal that is compelling enough so PRN allow us to remain at Houge. We are also required to give an oral presentation in September. It is likely the day care center will also bid for building one.
What Happens if Our Proposal is not Accepted
Thanks to some lobbying on my part, an outside party will not be able to take possession of Houge until Fall 2009. At that point though, all SJAA programs at Houge would stop. The club would have to find a new home for its meetings and principal star parties.
What Happens if our Proposal is Accepted?
Our relationship with the city will change in ways that will not be apparent to members or the public. We will be using Houge on a contractual basis and not by reservation. That sounds lawyery, but it means that several agreements that we depend on will be converted from handshakes into a formal legal contract. Thus, while the next month is going to be busy, it could ultimately insure the long term future for the club.
What Can I do?
For the moment – nothing. The window to have the council resolve this closed in April. If you are an attorney see above. Other members are free to offer any information on our history at Houge that we can add to the proposal.
Beyond that then please hope that our proposal is accepted.
This is the real deal. The future of the club – as we now know it – will be decided in the next few weeks.
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