On this day in 1977

Lompico Citizens Work to Restore Club

1978-81 Volunteers rebuild shell of building for use as Community Center with fire insurance monies.

1979 Center dedicated partially built building to George Penkoff

1979-82 Center was never completed due to lack of funds and other set backs

1982 Center used building for emergency headquarters after floods and slides

Monday, June 13, 1977 - Santa Cruz Sentinel

Lompico Citizens Work To Restore Club

By Denise Siebenthal, Sentinel Staff Writer

Soneday, Lompico residents hope, this charred site of the former Lompico Club will house a new community Center. Glenn Fiveash, member of the Lompico Improvement Club, is shown here helping with the daily clean-up of the ruins. The center was burned to the ground on May 1, supposedly by arson. The improvement club is working to clean up the pool in time for the summer and to rebuild the center as soon as possible. Any donations or help of any kind are welcome.

When the Lompico Club was destroyed by fire on drizzly morning in early May, the fervent desire of the canyon's citizens did not turn to ashes.

The total destruction if the community center only caused a renewal in the energy that once was directed to restoring the club, but now is pointed towards rebuilding it.

The day after the 50-year-old building was burned down by an arsonist, the Lompico Improvement Club began cleaning up debris and making plans for a new club.

Volunteer help and donation of professional labor are pouring into the narrow canyon daily, but much more is needed, club members stressed.

One thing that is directly needed immediately is an architect who will donate his time to drawing up some plans, Club Member Richard Floyd said.

The community needs the plans before it can determine just how much the facility will cost.

The club plans to use the approximately $20,000 it will collect from insurance, donations and hopefully revenue sharing funds to finance the construction.

Ironically, the club has been closed down since February because of a fire danger. The Improvement Club had submitted a request for $11,995 in county revenue sharing funds to restore the club.

During the revenue sharing hearing Wednesday, representatives from the Improvement Club will ask that the application be revised to request funds for the new club, Chairman Aletha McNeely explained.

It's crucial that the new club be built as soon as possible, the club members stressed, because it is the only place in the canyon where the 1,500 residents can gather.

The optimistic citizens already have plans for the use of their new center.

Head Start has said it will be willing to start a program there, McNeely pointed out. Older people are not forgotten either with the center slated for senior citizen activities.

A grocery store or food co-op also is planned. The club members said this will be a great convenience to the canyon residents who now have to drive to Felton for a carton of milk.

Another plan is for a 10-watt, non-commercial, FM radio station that would serve only the canyon. It would serve for warning citizens of any dangers , and for entertainment.

The Improvement Club already has learned that all the work and equipment for the station will be donated.

A restaurant at the club would give residents a place to gather socially and a meeting hall would allow club meetings, dances and other functions.

Other planned uses include office space, a recreation program for children, a switchboard, teen dances and parties and classes.

The club may be gone for the moment, but the pool at the site is still usable and citizens are working feverishly to get it ready as soon as possible.

The county has informed the Improvement Club that the pool cannot be used until chemical toilets are provided and a power pole is installed.

The group is looking for donations to cover the $75 needed for two toilets and the $200 needed for the power pole.

Some 50 tons of sand for the beach at the poolside have been donated, but chemicals and equipment to clean the pool still are needed, the club members emphasized.

"Our first concern of that school is ending soon and the pool is what the kids do here in the summer," Floyd said. "Profits from the building were what kept the pool going."

Already, generous citizens have heard the plight of Lompicans and offers of free labor have been gratefully accepted.

From as far as San Jose came General Contractor Jeff Mora's pledge of 100 hours of construction and Contractor Ted Floyd's promise of 250 hours of construction.

Locally, three redwood picnic tables have been donated by Dave Joseph, Matt Meier and Heartwood Lumber Co. Roofer John Jacobs has promised his free labor and Hudson Nile of Allied Services has volunteered to do the plumbing.

Dean McNeely and Walt Hendryx have donated their expertise as electricians and Artist Phil Zemki will do a sculpture of metal and debris from the fire.

Still needed are materials for the building, the volunteer time of a foundation engineer and interior furnishings like office furniture, and recreation equipment such as pool tables, a volleyball net and ping pong tables.

"To most, it probably wasn't much, but the club was all we had," Floyd lamented, "It was a place for people to go in the summer, a place for kids to go for fun and games and the only support for the club was things like membership dues and fund raising events."

He emphasized that it wasn't "hippies" who used the club. "We want people to know that we are Americans who pay our taxes and love our flag," he stated.

For more information on helping the Lompicans out, call McNeely at 225-3842.

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