A Multigenerational Hub in the Historic Barrio
The creation of a multiuse multigenerational community center offering a wide variety of spaces and programs was an idea put forth in the 2015 City of Carlsbad’s Parks & Recreation Master Plan. This collaborative idea that a facility can help strengthen community connectivity and promote health and wellness became a reality today with the opening of the brand new, eco-friendly, Pine Avenue Community Center & Gardens.
Located just steps away from the park playground and the Carlsbad Senior Center, the Pine Avenue Community Center has the potential to be a multigenerational hub in the historic Barrio. “We plan and we plan and it doesn’t always come true…this is about the dream coming true,” said Mayor Matt Hall “and it will be fantastic for all, from the little ones to the older generation.” As visitors enter the lobby of the modern, two-story, LEED Silver building they take a look back in time courtesy of the Carlsbad Historical Society who put together a collage of historic photos of the Village & Barrio. A senior art class is taking place in the first floor multipurpose room but this room could be filled with summer camp kids next month. Across the hall, the gymnasium is filled with natural light from floor to ceiling windows. The gym is a prime example of a truly multigenerational space. It has a low rock climbing wall for young kids; a court that can be used for high school basketball, volleyball, or badminton; and last but not least…Pickleball Courts! Pickleball is an extremely popular sport among adults age 55+ and has been called “one of the fastest growing sports in America.”
The teen room is on the second floor of the center. The open space has an air hockey and foos ball table, comfortable couches, video game consoles, books, and multigenerational board games. There is a dedicated computer lab, a homework room, offices, and a kitchen area. The outdoor terrace has a ping-pong table and comfortable chairs overlooking Pine Park’s playground and ball fields. “This community center is the final part of the plan that began in 2008,” said Mark Olson, City of Carlsbad Recreation Area Manager. “It will be home for our Leadership in Training & Education after-school program, enrichment programs, and summer camps. Having a computer lab on site gives kids the opportunity to complete projects here and the dedicated homework room gives young people a place to work without distractions.”
The new Pine Park Gardens represent the third community garden space in Carlsbad. Each raised bed has its own watering source and can be leased to residents for growing veggies, fruits and flowers. The garden paths are lined with ornamental drought tolerant plants and feature picnic areas, shady gathering spaces, tic-tac-toe and checker tables, and a tranquil fountain. Still under construction is the living art installation called “A Garden Folly” by Jenna Didier. This 40-foot wide structure will be a two half-domes made from willow trees and vines complete with benches inside, a stone water feature, and nighttime illumination.
As the City of Carlsbad leadership addressed the community gathered for the grand opening celebration it was clear this idea of multigenerationalism, if approached with an open mind and heart, really can benefit everyone. “Our youth learn a lot from our older folks and seniors can become energized by our youth,” said Mayor Pro Tem, Keith Blackburn. Council Member, Mark Packard, sincerely asked that the seniors in the crowd consider being mentors for the youth at the community center. Council Member, Cori Schumacher summed it up best stating, “Centers like this break us out of our isolation. Coming together and valuing what we have in face-to-face conversations can improve the quality of life and bring our community together.” Judging from the mix of seniors and teen agers and middle schoolers and families enjoying these new spaces, the idea is working!