Mission Viejo’s Murray Center expansion a study in opulence

We often hear or read words that jump off the page. Earlier today a fellow Mission Viejo concerned citizen and myself drove over to visit the expanded Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center which officially opens tomorrow with a ribbon cutting ceremony. After touring both inside and the site grounds we agreed on the word of the day, “opulence.”

Two years ago my wife and I visited the city of Barcelona, Spain which is world famous for the creativity of Antoni Gaudi’s designs. One of his historic works is Park Geull that was designed specifically for Spain’s aristocracy. In the park you will find the world famous serpentine bench with its dazzling, multi colored, mosaic tiles.

Well, readers I have some good news for you. You will not require a passport to see Mission Viejo’s version of this Gaudi designed bench/wall that can be found outside the rear area of the 13,000 square foot addition. In fact, unlike Gaudi’s version ours has a built-in waterfall. No wonder the CIP cost escalated from $5.5 million (city press release October 29, 2004) to over $15.1 million dollars. After all, we are all “aristocrats” in Mission Viejo. The only remaining question is how many awards this new building additional will capture.

There is a term worth following called “acts of omission.” Don’t volunteer any data. Specifically, while we were told the estimated cost of the addition at $5.5 million, they failed to mention minor items such as F & F or museum pieces that were added later. Shame on us for not being more diligent.

Note: As we have a waiting list of families seeking affordable housing the center has over sized cabana’s in that same outside area with drop down curtains for privacy that I guess can be used by some of our homeless in the evenings.

The sad story is that according to Yahoo we have over 300 homes in foreclosure in Mission Viejo while the five alleged Republican “fiscal conservatives” on our city council continue rubber stamping this city management’s “opulent” project with a record setting 15 or 16 costly Change Orders. Before entering the building be sure to check out some of the rather costly outdoor furniture that is better than any house I have visited. Oh, but we had to pay more in order for the lounges to last with all of the anticipated wear and tear. Sure.

And take note of the outdoor sculptures or the artwork and museum pieces found inside the expansion.

The city flier reads in part: “A late afternoon concert performed by the South Coast Symphony will feature Broadway music and a closing ceremonial performance” which is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. “The celebration concludes with a ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening of the center” that is scheduled for 6 p.m.

About Larry Gilbert