San Diego

Chula Vista Senior Center Goes 2 Years Without Kitchen

City said funds to fix the senior center's kitchen were not available until recently

The City of Chula Vista is now accepting bids to remodel a senior center's kitchen two years after the discovery of mold prompted the kitchen's closure.

Residents at Norman Park Senior Center waited two years and even raised more than $23,000 to get their kitchen back. 

The city had to close the kitchen inside the facility at 270 F Street in 2016 after discovering mold and a series of other problems.

Hundreds of seniors rely on the kitchen for meals and preparing large potlucks. They raised $23,000 to fix the kitchen in 2017. They gave the city that money but nothing was ever done.

“We raised money and I don’t know what happened to the money,” said senior Sandy Duncan.

The city, however, said the situation was more complicated than it seemed.

“You don’t want to piecemeal a project like this and just take little bits of it to fix it," Chula Vista deputy city manager Kelley Bacon said. "You want to get the whole thing done and done right.” 

Bacon said the city couldn’t fix the kitchen until it fixed the center’s roof and made the kitchen compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. She said Chula Vista did not have the money until funds from Measure P became available this year.

Measure P was a half-cent sales tax approved by Chula Vista voters in 2016. The city started collecting money from that tax last year but prioritized several projects such as fire stations ahead of the senior center.

Bacon said the city is now prepared to spend $1.4 million to upgrade the Norman Park Senior Center and its kitchen.

“Get this kitchen ADA compliant, fix the restrooms, fix the roof, fix the decking upstairs,” Bacon said. “And that’s our goal, is to get it done and get it done right.”

The city of Chula Vista is putting out requests for bids on the project Friday. Bacon said they expect construction to begin this Fall.

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