__________________________________________ BOB

Socialize

CERRITOS: A SPECIAL PLACE FOR SENIORS

IN APRIL 1996, the Cerritos City Council approved installing a “life-size, full-body” bronze statue of Pat Nixon in the rose garden of the Cerritos Senior Center. The sculpture was forged by artist Ivan Schwartz. Photo courtesy city of Cerritos.

 

BY CERRITOS MAYOR MARK E. PULIDO

Since 1994, the beautiful Cerritos Senior Center at Pat Nixon Park has provided a welcome space for Cerritos seniors to socialize, participate in educational programs, receive social services and enjoy recreational activities. In January 2019, the City will be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Senior Center.

In an effort to serve those citizens who had first settled in the City’s new subdivisions and were now becoming grandparents over the age of 50, the City opened the $3.5 million, 22,500-square-foot Senior Center on January 29, 1994. Prior to that, the City’s Dial-A-Ride service, a food program at St. John Lutheran Church and the Gadabouts social club were offered to this important group, however, seniors lacked a dedicated City facility.

The City selected Pat Nixon Park as the location for the Senior Center, as it was an attractive site and centrally located. 

Wolff, Lang, Christopher Architects Inc. was chosen to design the facility, which featured a craftsman-style lodge appearance with natural river rock and wood trellises around the exterior, and detailed wood framework on the windows and doors. 

Inside, the facility offered two comfortable lounges and ample space for classes, arts and crafts, billiards, computers and other activities. There was room for art and special exhibits, and a large multipurpose area with a stage and kitchen.

A park for outdoor activities surrounded the building and included a patio with barbecue area, pond and grass activity area. 

Near it was a planter filled with rosebushes, which was once the foundation of the house where First Lady Pat Nixon lived during her youth.

Nixon is one of the City’s most famous one-time residents, and the site of her childhood home and her family’s truck farm was the perfect location for the Cerritos Senior Center. 

In 1975, the City honored Nixon by dedicating the Pat Nixon Home and Museum at 12364 South Street. The five-room house was restored and authentically decorated, set on four acres of rolling lawns at Pat Nixon Park.

The home Nixon lived in from 1914 to 1931 was situated on the corner of South Street and Ely Avenue. Pat Ryan (the future First Lady) spent her childhood in Dairy Valley, walking the dirt roads to school, carrying out neighborhood babysitting duties and making friends. Among her closest friends were Myrtle and Louise Raine, and they became known as “the Three Musketeers.” 

The Raine family was another early Dairy Valley clan who owned 10 acres near today’s Cerritos Senior Center. Myrtle Raine spent the majority of her life in Cerritos, remaining active in the City and at the Senior Center through her 90s. 

Before her passing in 2012 at the age of 96, Myrtle Raine commented, “This city has changed so much, you wouldn’t realize it’s the same place. I tell people I live in Cerritos, and they’re so impressed. It’s grown into a beautiful city. I’m very proud of it.”

The City of Cerritos bought the Nixon property from the family in 1967, but the home was destroyed by fire in 1978. 

In April 1996, the Cerritos City Council approved installing a “life-size, full-body” bronze statue of Pat Nixon in the rose garden of the Cerritos Senior Center. 

Artist Ivan Schwartz, who had sculpted statues of 10 world leaders for the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, was selected as the statue’s sculptor. 

The statue was dedicated on March 1, 1997. The bricks used in the existing memorial at the site are from the original home’s fireplace and chimney.

As a gift to the community for the City’s 50th Anniversary, a 5,000-square-foot expansion of the Senior Center was completed in 2006, which included a new wellness/fitness center designed specifically with the community’s active seniors in mind. 

The $2.4 million project included cardiovascular and weight training equipment, a conference room for wellness and health screenings, a public counter, locker rooms and restrooms.

Today, services provided at the now 27,500-square-foot Cerritos Senior Center range from health screenings, exercise classes, tax and legal assistance, health and fitness workshops, a fitness center, excursions and special events. 

This past year, the façade at the Senior Center was enhanced with the completion of maintenance to the wood features. 

Since the Cerritos Center opened in 1994: 

• Approximately 527,000 daily nutritional lunches have been served.

• More than 287,000 home delivered meals have been provided to homebound seniors.

• Nearly 54,000 information and referral questions have been answered.

• Approximately 22,500 seniors have attended special event dances.

• More than 1 million seniors have attended exercise classes.

• Over 512,000 workout visits have occurred since the completion of the Fitness Center expansion.

• Senior Center volunteers have contributed close to 216,000 hours of service.

• The interior and outdoor areas of the Senior Center have been the site of approximately 3,000 private weekend reservations, hosting more than 470,000 guests. These events have included wedding ceremonies/receptions, anniversary celebrations and milestone birthday festivities.

The Senior Center’s 2018 Health and Wellness Fair, themed “Discover Your Journey to Optimal Health,” will be held on Friday, October 5 from 8:30 a.m. to noon for Cerritos residents and 9 a.m. to noon for the general public. 

I invite and encourage all of our seniors to attend and take advantage of the valuable resources that will be offered.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2030, all baby boomers will be older than age 65. 

This will expand the size of the older population so that 1 in every 5 residents will be retirement age. 

Given these figures, it is only natural that we pay close attention to this important group and ensure that they are provided with the valuable services that they need. 

Designed to meet the special needs of the City’s growing senior population, the Cerritos Senior Center continues to provide a focal point for their community involvement. 

The City looks forward to many more years of serving the senior community of Cerritos.

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments

1
Leave a Reply

avatar
1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
jas Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
jas
Guest
jas

Said Senior Center building is an A+ in my opinion and it’s a five-star project, but it is not big enough for the community it services. Services approximately 20, 000 senior aged residents, and the project is not large enough to hold a diversity of programs, and not large enough to cooperate with reciprocating surrounding large senior centers. T The center we have today is a great asset, but when you compare it with other projects in the county, it is very dwarf, and the programs reflect that. It’s really not a service to the entire city it’s only a… Read more »