RIVERSIDE – More than $30,000 in additional funds were allocated today for work on a community center near Perris that Supervisor Kevin Jeffries described as a construction “nightmare,” while several residents complained that the facility still lacked a number of promised amenities.
“This has been quite a challenge,” Jeffries said of the Mead Valley Community Center, which opened last July. “I inherited it when I became supervisor for the First District (in January 2013). We made a decision early on to just get it open and deal with the other issues later on.”
The 40,000-square-foot facility, located at 21091 Rider St., northwest of Perris, serves residents of the unincorporated community of Mead Valley.
The $20.6 million facility was intended to provide seniors and families with daily support and recreational opportunities. But according to Jeffries, the county has struggled just to “keep the lights on.”
“There needs to be a commitment in next year’s budget for ongoing funding,” the supervisor said. “It’s always been about money. That’s what it comes down to.”
The Board of Supervisors approved an $18,500 payment to San Diego-based Shadpour Consulting Engineers Inc. — on top of $61,500 already paid to the contractor — for the installation of automated systems at the community center.
The board also set aside an additional, not-to-exceed $11,775 in project funds for Hemet-based K&R Consulting for work on the building’s parking lot and sewer works.
“There have been unbelievable delays, errors in construction and design,” Jeffries complained. “It’s a nightmare. With a $20 million facility, you would’ve thought taxpayers would’ve gotten their money’s worth.”
Paul Jacobs of Temecula, head of Riverside Communities United, told the board he had heard from Mead Valley residents who “expressed concern about the community center,” including a lack of senior meal service and inadequate space to play bingo.
Another speaker told the board that many rooms at the center remained locked, and a portion of the building was being utilized as a county Workforce Development Center, intended to provide job training for the unemployed and other services.
Jeffries said county personnel were in the process of relocating the Workforce Development Center. The supervisor asked for assurances from Economic Development Agency staffers that further problems with the building would be sorted out.
EDA Managing Director Lisa Brandl said the agency was “working closely with the community” to address unresolved issues, while EDA Assistant Director of Real Estate Vince Coffeen told the board that the county was “closer to the finish line” in clearing up problems related to construction of the two-story building.