Buena Park Senior Center holds grand re-opening

By Loreen Berlin

The Walter D. Ehlers Community Recreation Center, originally built on six acres in 1969, has undergone quite a few renovations over the years, inside and out, but none as extensive as the recent renovation by contractor PCN3 for a total of $1,918,950.67. According to City Hall, the completed project consisted of new exterior wall finishes and decorative screens, exterior signage, exterior lighting, security gates and fences, refinished exterior window frames, fabric tension structures and a standing-seam metal roof. The project also included the repair of exposed exterior beams and a trellis structure.

Renovating the exterior of the main facility was important because it made the building more visually appealing, and making the improvements ensures the building will remain beautiful for generations to come.

Now, the Ehlers Event Center is more inviting to the public and in particular, to seniors. The writing on the buildings has been super-sized for easy readability and out back is a garden where seniors who live in apartments or other housing that does not have yard space, can share a garden area where vegetables and flowers can be grown and enjoyed by the seniors.

A ribbon cutting and grand re-opening was held Tuesday, July 31.

“On behalf of the City Council, I would like to welcome everyone to the re-opening of the Ehlers Event Center,” said Mayor Virginia Vaughn. “This center is a special part of Buena Park because it not only houses the City’s Senior Center, it also hosts City classes, programs and theater productions, and it’s also a place where residents and community members can host special occasions such as wedding receptions and birthday parties for their friends and families.”

In addition to the exterior renovations that have just been completed, the restrooms inside are scheduled to be upgraded during the financial year of 2018-2019 as part of a Capital Improvement Project. The 2018-2019 budget includes $300,000 for the design and construction of new restroom facilities at Ehlers Community Center.

One very important addition to the Ehlers Event Center a few years ago was the Veteran’s Monument on the southeast side of the building, where veterans are remembered and honored each year during a special ceremony.

Other yearly events include the Candy Caneland and Craft Fair, the Civic Theatre, Autumn Nights, Jazz Under the Stars and a number of senior citizens events including Super Senior Saturday.

Going on now is the musical stage production of “Xanadu” by the City’s Fine Arts Division in conjunction with Palmer Productions, to be held under the stars at the Ehlers Event Center. Created more than 35 years ago, Civic Theatre Under the Stars produces one musical production a year in the Plaza at the Ehlers Event Center. The 2018 season runs Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:15 p.m., Aug. 17, 18, 24 and 25. Tickets for the performances may be purchased through the City.

The Tony Award-nominated, hilarious, roller-skating musical adventure is about following your dreams despite limitations others might try to set for you. It is described as hilarity on wheels for anyone who has ever wanted to feel inspired.

The Walter D. Ehlers Event Center is named for the late Buena Park resident Walter D. Ehlers, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient.

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