Hillcrest, which was originally built in 1964, has 24 low-rise and high-rise buildings — more than half of which are age restricted.
But Herb Tobin, the son of Ben Tobin, the original owner of the land where the Hillcrest condos and the Playdium were built, said change is good and the old recreation building is only an eyesore for the community.
“It was left alone on its path of destruction, and now is closed and shuttered, and stands as a symbol of the Hillcrest community in decline,” Herb Tobin said. “We look at the Playdium as a building to be reborn as a catalyst for growth.”
He added that the school will also be open to the community on nights and weekends for classes and meetings.
In order for the Playdium to be converted into the charter school, which could open as early as this August, the developers need city zoning approval.
At a recent Planning and Development Board meeting, where dozens of seniors begged city representatives to reconsider, the board gave its blessing to the project.
“I think it’s good for the community; I think it’s good for Hollywood,” said John Passalacqua, Planning and Development Board chairman.
But Lecluse, who bought his condo 20 years ago, doesn’t think the “terrible traffic” the new school will create will be good for the community.
The school will add hundreds of cars to a street that for the most part is only wide enough for one lane in each direction, he said.
Lecluse says if the school gets approved, he will no longer be able to wake up peacefully and enjoy his morning tea, bread and cheese on his porch.
“At this stage of my life I don’t need to be dealing with this kind of stress,” he said.