Town hall raises questions about vote on Berger remodel
A Town hall meeting to get community input on remodeling Oakmont’s Berger Center drew a small but attentive crowd on March 30, just before Easter and Passover observations.
The event attended by 30-plus residents, just prior to the OVA election, was organized by former OVA board member Karen Oswald. Also participating were then-President Greg Goodwin, OVA General Manager Kevin Hubred, and David Dearden of the Berger Action and Building Construction Committees.
“The time for studies and more committees is over and it’s time to take action,” Goodwin said. It’s going to take quite a while to get permits. This is probably two years down the road before work starts.”
Dearden stressed that many of Berger’s systems are antiquated and in need of replacement and this represents a large cost. He cautioned that when the building is renovated “it will be a mess.”
A large portion of the two-hour meeting was devoted to an open forum where several residents questioned the former board’s vote to remodel with no increase in size.
Bob Jackson, who spearheaded the study of remodeling options, called the OVA’s Feb. 6 vote to remodel the Berger “premature” because the Berger Action Committee was disbanded before its work was completed.
“We were prepared to present a 700-foot extension with the warming kitchen without the high-end finishes,” Jackson said, adding that he believes the decision to remodel was wrong and should be rescinded.
Calling the vote “the cart before the horse,” Nick Beltrano said there should have been an opportunity to question the numbers in town halls and then have the board vote. He asked for clarification of the “Voices of Oakmont” survey cited as support for remodeling Berger.
“It’s a fantastic building that serves many needs,” said Bruce Bon, who asked how many times the building has been overflowing or people turned away.
Called on to respond, Steve Spanier said five Boomer events per year are sold out. “I don’t see the benefit of having a larger auditorium,” said Sha-boom leader Ray Halverson, who added that the most he’s had on a waiting list is 52.
Resident Kathy Sowers said the survey was a long time ago. “I’m not convinced some of the other options shouldn’t be considered.”
Bob Cortel reminded the panel that the $3,661,302 estimate associated with the remodel represents only hard costs, and soft costs would be at least 20 percent more.