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New life at the old Cavanagh Center (with video)

  • Deborah Dalton, executive director of Mentor Me, in the newly refurbished game room at the Cavangh Center. (Frank Simpson/For the Argus-Courier)

The old adage “It takes a village” was put to the test at the Cavanagh Center this month. More than 40 volunteers from myriad organizations pitched in to restore the dilapidated building into a thriving space for Petaluma’s youth.

“Oh boy, our kids will have a good old fashioned neighborhood rec center,” said Deborah Dalton, executive director of Mentor Me, which got the city’s permission to take over operations at the site in the spring.

She said the new center will be filled with “resources and familiar faces,” and available to all of Petaluma’s children. “This center will level the playing field,” she added. “Recreation is the great equalizer.”

For two weeks, crews stripped the building of its antiquated innards, replacing dry wall and flooring, fixing the electrical system and plumbing and repainting nearly every surface inside the main rooms that Mentor Me will occupy.

When the dust settled, a brand new Cavanagh Center was born, with a game room, meeting spaces and administrative offices.

“We have a full computer lab, career counseling and a tutoring center,” Dalton said. “The room is ready, the services are getting ready but the computers are ready to use for homework.”

The revamp would not have been possible without the efforts of a lot of local people. Golden State Lumber donated materials and served as the project manager for the effort. The Petaluma Community Foundation stepped in with a $15,000 grant, and Rebuilding Together Petaluma provided a crew of volunteer tradespeople to handle the technical work in the game room, entryway, hallways and offices. Volunteers from Mentor Me and Petaluma’s Athleta helped out with painting and other finishing touches.

With its colorful murals, the new space was designed with children in mind, but the space will continue to house other community programs that took place in the Cavanagh Center.


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