Parks a good fit for Santo Center
There's plenty of space to go around, and class signups will bring folks in
Nearly six years ago the city of Medford claimed the deed to the building now known as the Santo Community Center. Classes and community programs followed.
Now the city's recreation staff has staked a claim as well, one more logical step in shaping the former Army Reserve center into a gathering place for all of Medford.
Some concern about the move surfaced last week, when members of the West Medford Community Coalition questioned whether recreation staffers would turn the purpose of the building from community to government use. Members of the coalition, a neighborhood group that uses and has cared for the building, had hoped the city would give them more space in the center, not move in itself.
But there's no reason the recreation department's move should have a negative impact on the center. Five recreation department employees will occupy just two of a half dozen offices in the building, leaving room for the west Medford group and others. A hallway full of classrooms and a large drill hall remain wide open for community use. And the city's renewed interest means it will pour nearly &
36;500,000 into renovating the building, work that is certain to make it more comfortable for everyone.
Meanwhile, the city's presence will consistently open the center to walk-in traffic. People will be able to go there instead of to the fortress-like City Hall to sign up for city-sponsored classes, most of which already are held in the Santo center.
In all, the city's renewed interest in the building should make it into more of a community center, not less of one.
— We don't see this as a case of the city losing sight of its mission at the center. Instead, it should bring it into sharper view.
Chinese culture is important to the history of Jacksonville, and by all rights it should be recognized and honored by modern-day residents. So we're sorry to see organizers give up on the city's annual Chinese New Year celebration.
But let's face it: The existence of the celebration alone doesn't mean Jacksonville is giving history its due, and its absence alone doesn't mean it isn't.
What's important is that Jacksonville find a way to recognize and honor the Chinese people's large contribution to development of the town.
If there's a side benefit of increasing traffic to merchants ' as there was with the Chinese New Year celebration ' all the better. But today's merchants shouldn't be the point, as it seems they ultimately were in the case of Chinese New Year.
The Chamber of Commerce's new endeavor, a Fritillary Festival to honor the rare flower, seems like a fine addition to the Jacksonville lineup.
On the question of appropriate homage to the town's heritage, however, it's back to the drawing board.