The former site of the Senior Center of Elk Grove is now the Gil Albiani Recreation Center.
Local parks and fire services provider, the Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) plans to transform the vacant building into their first recreation center east of Highway 99. Their parks staff tentatively named the facility at Sharkey Avenue after nearby Beeman Park until a new name was chosen.
On July 15, the CSD board voted 4-0 to rename the building after Albiani, who has served on their board for 16 years. He abstained from voting.
“It is embarrassing,” he said after receiving a standing ovation at the CSD board’s chambers. “I don’t think that anybody does things that they do for the acknowledgement that people give them – I think that you do it because you do it.”
Albiani’s name was nominated after the board received a recommendation from the CSD’s Naming Committee, which includes CSD directors Rod Brewer and Jaclyn Moreno.
“I know that you feel this is embarrassing, but my philosophy is that we need to acknowledge people and we need to give them their due while they’re here,” Brewer said. “I’m not a fan of giving people posthumous awards; you need to give it to them while they’re here.”
He credited Albiani for his support when he first considered running for office. Brewer also noted the work of Albiani’s wife, Kay, who is a prominent Elk Grove community member who served on the Elk Grove Unified School District and Los Rios Community College District boards.
“Yourself and Kay have been a huge influence throughout this community,” he said.
Along with the CSD board, Albiani also served on the boards for the California State Fair, Methodist Hospital, and the Mercy Foundation. He is also a veteran who served in the California Army National Guard for 22 years.
Phyllis Baltz, the president of the Methodist Hospital of Sacramento, encouraged the CSD board to choose Albiani’s name for the recreation center. She mentioned that she knew him for 10 years, due to his work in healthcare.
“I have personally witnessed his very long record of commitment and support to the greater Elk Grove community,” Baltz said.
During their hearing, the CSD board also heard from others who noted Albiani’s work in promoting agriculture education and his work with local nonprofits.
Kevin Spease, an Elk Grove City Council candidate and a former city planning commissioner, joined the call for Albiani’s nomination.
“Growing up in Elk Grove and participating in Pleasant Grove 4-H market lamb projects, I have personally witnessed Director Albiani’s very long record of commitment and support to the Elk Grove youth and agriculture.”
The CSD parks staff currently plans to renovate the Albiani Recreation Center later this year and offer the facility as a “community hub” for recreation programs as well as public gatherings. An opening date has not been scheduled, as of press time.
The Senior Center of Elk Grove operated at that site for 34 years until they moved to the city of Elk Grove’s District56 center at Civic Center Drive this January. That new center is currently closed due to the COVID-19 situation.