Excelsior neighborhood rejoices over new art center
By Michael J. Montalvo
Special to The Guardsman
City officials and the Excelsior neighborhood broke ground March 19 on the first of two phases to revamp the Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse into a community Youth Performing Arts Center.
The project calls for revamping two adjoining structures. The first phase, at a cost of $14 million, will focus on a 3,000 square foot building that is known as the Powerhouse. It is a part of a 13,000 square foot complex that includes the Car Barn.
The site, at Geneva and San Jose Avenues, is a common sight for City College students who enter and exit the Balboa BART station. The college is only blocks away from the project.
“When this project is completed, it will be the centerpiece of the community, offering a place where our youth and families can congress in a healthy, productive and positive way,” said Mayor Mark Farrell, who attended the ceremonies.
“The neighborhood has been eagerly awaiting this project and I am grateful for all the partners who helped lead this process throughout the years. Today marks the start of an exciting new future in the Excelsior,” he added.
Funding sources for the project include a 2012 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond, state funding, general city funds, Historic Preservation funds, New Market Tax Credit Funds, and a grant from the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST).
CAST Executive Director Boy Eng said, “We are excited about our Geneva Car Barn Collaboration with the Recreation and Park Department and Performing Arts Workshop in helping to revitalize a historic space for arts and education in the heart of the Excelsior.”
The second phase calls for revamping the Car Barn, which is the two-story brick building that that has sustained earthquake damages and is part of the Powerhouse. However, funding still needs to be secured for that phase.
“The ground-breaking for the Powerhouse is a victory for the children, youth and families of the OMI and Excelsior neighborhoods,” said Dan Weaver of Friends of Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse, as well as a long-time community and park advocate in District 11. “The friends of the Geneva Office Building and Powerhouse have worked for nearly 20 years on this project and our day has finally come.”