Saturday, May 9, 2009

CityWalk: Choices about Community Rooms, Part I

We’re getting closer and closer to opening CityWalk. The first units should be available in ninety days, and that means thinking about some of the issues that we had put on the back burner—even the back burner is starting to heat up now.

Today Judy Knie (who is in charge of our property management) and I worked on the plans for the community rooms at CityWalk. CityWalk has one large community center on the third floor, which includes a deck overlooking the city. It also has ten smaller community rooms, one on each of floors five through fourteen, and we just finalized plans on how to use those rooms. The smaller community rooms are roughly twenty feet by twenty feet and are interior rooms—no windows.

In order to decide how to program those rules, we had already done quite a lot of work. We had visited developments with permanent supportive housing in other cities and talked to the developers about what worked and what didn’t work. Judy conducted a survey with the people on our call back list for CityWalk to find out their preferences and we spent an hour discussing the options for the smaller community rooms with our advisory council. So we had a lot of information to work from and it was time to make the final decisions.

Here’s what we decided (working up from floor five through floor fourteen where the smaller community rooms are located) and a couple of words on how we got to each decision. Today I’ll talk about the first five and tomorrow about the second five and a few ideas we decided didn’t quite make the cut:

Floor Five – Rehearsal room -- This was largely at my insistence. I saw one at a Common Ground project we toured in New York. It’ll be soundproofed; contain a piano; have wood floors and a ballet bar. I hope it will attract some young artists and musicians to CityWalk.

Floor Six – Television room – A must for any project. We’ll have two, probably one with a preference for sports and one for movies. Besides a wall-mounted television and comfy chairs, we’ll be trying to add a popcorn machine.

Floor Seven – Kids Room – A popular choice from our survey. It will have toys and child size furniture. It will be kept locked and the key will have to be checked out by a parent or guardian.

Floor Eight – Game Room – Another popular choice, but it comes with some uncertainties. Do we mean cards? Dominoes? Board Games? Pool? Table Tennis? Wii Bowling? We’re going to work on the design to be as flexible as possible, but we still need to define “Game Room” a bit more definitely.

Floor Nine – Business Center – This wasn’t really a choice. We had promised the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs that we would have a business center. But we probably would have had one anyway. People need a place to check email, prepare job applications and similar tasks, so it’s a necessity in a building like ours.
Tomorrow, I’ll have the final five.

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