"The first order of business is hiring the correct historic architect to help guide us through this process," she continued. "Because we do have the money set aside we would like to start building as soon as possible, because we want to take advantage of the fact that there are many construction companies that could use work in this current economy."
"Realistically I don't think we could break ground before 2010," she added.
An improved veterans' facility has been a matter of concern for some time as it became clear that the 1925 building on Hartz Avenue at Prospect needs retrofitting, is acoustically inadequate, and does not serve the needs of the veteran population and seniors.
The Veterans Memorial Building Development Committee of the San Ramon Valley was founded to solve the problem; its members searched the valley for an appropriate location for a new veterans facility and decided that the current site is best. It remains to be determined whether to tear down the standing Vets Hall, to attempt to preserve the historic building, or something in between.
"Most people I talk to recognize the historic significance of the building," said Andersen, but at the same time want to provide a state of the art facility for the veterans and a senior center.
Meanwhile, Contra Costa County transferred ownership of the building to the Town of Danville in exchange for $200,000 with the agreement that it will continue to be used primarily for veterans. The Veterans Memorial Building Development Committee of the San Ramon Valley is now focused on fundraising, having pledged to raise $3 million toward the project. The town has appropriated $5 million.
The new Veterans Building Steering Committee has 10 members appointed from commissions and the Town Council:
* Candace Andersen and Newell Arnerich - Town of Danville
* Scott Perkins and John Estes - Veterans
* Robert Storer and Robert Combs - Planning Commission/Design Review Board
* Lee Halverson and Patty Dobbin - Danville Heritage Resource Commission
* Kevin Donovan and Kent Rezowalli - Senior Subcommittee of Parks and Leisure
The Steering Committee will oversee planning and architectural design, working with the architectural consultant, and make design recommendations to the Town Council.
"The council will ultimately have to balance the size and scope of the project," said Town Manager Joe Calabrigo.
Calabrigo said its mandate will be to meet the needs of both the town's veteran population and the seniors who presently use the existing facility, and to stay within whatever budget is established by the town.
Wednesday's meeting was to take place at the Vets Hall, 400 Hartz Ave.
"The first order of business is hiring the architect," said Andersen. "Then we can decide, can we remodel, restore or do a renovation."