OCEANSIDE — The John Landes Community Center has finally reopened its doors to the Tri-City neighborhood after a 14-year hiatus, bringing back much-needed youth and community programs, a new library space and plans for future upgrades.
The city ceased all operations and programming at the former recreation center in 2008 due to the Great Recession. MiraCosta College took over the space during the last decade through a lease with the city, using the building to run its various trade education programs.
After MiraCosta’s lease with the city ended last June, the city resumed hosting city programs at the center. This time, more components have been added to its use, tying together services through Parks and Recreation, the Oceanside Public Library and the city’s Housing and Neighborhood Services.
Along with its reactivation, the center also received some necessary renovations using the city’s American Rescue Plan Act dollars, including fresh paint throughout the building, new flooring in some rooms, new computers for community members to use, upgraded restroom fixtures and new fencing and lighting.
A new shade structure will also be added to the center’s patio area sometime in the spring using money from a Community Development Block Grant. The Oceanside Public Library foundation also gave $75,000 for new furniture.
Oceanside Parks and Recreation manager Mark Olson said the center’s reactivation and renovations have been needed for quite some time and is something he has wanted to see happen since he joined the city a few years ago.
“The community has desired to have a place in their neighborhood like this for a long time,” Olson said.
Another significant change for the center is a new library space. According to Oceanside Public Library director CJ DiMento, the park has been a stop for the city’s bookmobile for 35 years, so adding the library there seemed to be a natural fit.
“Now we have three libraries here in Oceanside,” DiMento said. “It’s a huge advancement for our public library system.”
So far, the center has already brought back its summer program for kids and the afterschool program that primarily serves students at the nearby Casita Tech Science Center and preschool.
The center also offers a space for dance and tumbling classes and hopes to bring back pottery and other arts programming by adding a new kiln, which the center previously had when it was in operation years ago.
The center also provides housing and other social service resources for community members in need, including healthcare and mental health referrals, transportation assistance, food distribution and help with job training and government assistance applications.
“It’s an all-encompassing one-stop shop,” said housing program manager Maria Yanez.
Beyond just the center, John Landes Park consists of 10 acres with barbeque and picnic areas, baseball fields, basketball courts, a multipurpose field, a playground, tennis courts and a skate pad area.
The park is named after John Hodel Landes, a Bavarian immigrant who came to the United States in 1893 and was known as a pioneer Oceanside resident who served as a city clerk for 32 years. The park was named after him in 1967.
The community can also expect upgrades to the park’s skate pad this year. The city has already hosted a recent event to gauge community interest in what features could be added to the skate pad.
The city received $285,000 from state grants and an additional $125,000 in block grant funds for the skate pad improvements.
Olson is thrilled to have the center back under city control and plans to continue to invigorate the community with more local programming.
“We’ll continue to grow and restore that trust with the community that we’re here to stay, listen to what they want and do our best to provide city programs there,” Olson said.