In 1981, the City of Oakland spent one dollar to purchase the Veterans Memorial Building across from Lake Merritt from the County of Alameda and it has been the best investment the city has ever made.
On Friday, July 14, the Oakland Downtown Senior Center, currently housed in the Veterans Memorial Building, celebrated its 35th year with a celebration.
The program featured the Class Act Band, a video presentation with KRON4 news commentator, Gary Radnich, culminating with presentations from Supervisor Keith Carson’s office and remarks by Mayor Libby Schaaf.
Currently with 1,100 members, the center took off in 1994 when Howard Banchefsky was hired as the director. Under his leadership, a multitude of programs were added and by 2005 the combined daytime, evening and weekend dances were attracting 600 to 800 dancers a week. The Lake Merritt Dance Center was created to operate the evening and weekend dance programs.