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GRF taking closer look at food and beverage options in Rossmoor

By Sam Richards

Staff writer

 

(Friday, May 12) To help determine how to improve – and possibly expand – the available choices within Rossmoor, GRF leaders will research hiring an outside consultant to analyze options for changes in food and beverage service.

On Thursday, the GRF Planning Committee told General Manager Jeff Matheson to start formulating a draft “request for proposals” (RFP) for consultants who may, among other things:

  • survey Rossmoor residents about what food and beverage services they want and would support;
  • research whether it would make sense to bring more providers into Rossmoor;
  • determine whether a vendor that may exclusively offer catering services at all GRF facilities (perhaps including residences) is practical or even wanted;
  • consider the pros and cons of making food and beverage services an in-house department;
  • analyze how Rossmoor could get the biggest bang for its buck with whatever food service operates in the valley. The latter, Matheson told the committee, would likely include evaluating the lease agreement for the Creekside restaurant space, where the Creekside Grill currently operates.

The GRF Board will ultimately decide whether to hire a consultant, estimated to cost between $20,000 and $30,000, and to act on any recommendations or other information that a consultant might produce.

Matheson said he expects to present a draft RFP document to the Planning Committee in June.

Rossmoor’s many clubs, and some individual residents, have been patronizing a variety of outside food catering businesses. Matheson said it needs to be determined whether residents (and the GRF Board) want to stay with that arrangement; whether Rossmoor should devise a system to license caterers doing business inside the gates; or whether an in-house GRF service may be the way to go.

It is expected that a consultant would lead a series of community workshops and conduct a resident survey to gauge sentiment toward the various possibilities.

Committee Chairwoman Leanne Hamaji said she wants outside-the-box thinking for possibilities in Rossmoor. She cited a “ninth hole snack bar” on a golf course as something she’d recently seen that may, or may not, work in Rossmoor.

“I want to see some creative ideas because I think this is going to be great for Rossmoor,” Hamaji said.

Many aspects of these various ideas need to be fleshed out. As an example, Matheson cautioned that should Rossmoor opt to bring food and beverage in-house, then GRF’s kitchen facilities would need an upgrade, which figures to be expensive and would require planning time.

Hamaji said the idea of GRF getting into the food service business is “a little daunting to me.”

Committee member Ted Bentley said advice on food-related endeavors could be requested from The Waterford and from Laguna Hills Village – the Southern California active seniors’ community which, like Rossmoor, was founded in the mid-‘60s by Ross Cortese and remains a sister operation – which both have food service.

Hamaji said she expects this process to take “a number of months.”

Progress report on pickleball

Fred Ponce, a contract pickleball project manager for GRF, showed the Planning Committee schematic drawings of the planned pickleball structure to be bult adjacent to the Event Center. While those images showed an essentially complete facility, Ponce said there is still time to make changes, especially decorative ones that wouldn’t have direct bearing on structural or acoustical concerns.

On Thursday he sought opinions from committee members on visual aspects of the planned $2.8 million facility. But Ponce said the basic visual look of the pickleball building is designed to blend in with both the Event Center and the golf course to its immediate west.

GRF officials said they planned to submit sometime next week to the City of Walnut Creek Planning Department, a schematic design package, complete with the aforementioned visuals and the needed information regarding the building’s exterior elements, construction materials needed and consideration of how this new building will fit within the context of the Event Center site.

After that, Ponce said, it will be a matter of “cross-coordination” between the project’s building designer, architect and solar panel provider so that at the June Planning Committee meeting, key design elements can be confirmed.

If all goes as planned, construction could begin as soon as September, with the “first game” in late April 2024, Ponce said. But there are things beyond GRF’s control, Ponce added, including how quickly the city approves various steps, weather and material delivery schedules still recovering from the pandemic.

“There are so many variables,” he said.

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