Early planning under way for Worthington senior centerWORTHINGTON — There are no blueprints just yet, but members of the Senior Citizen’s Facility Committee are optimistic about their progress toward the realization of a facility for the community’s senior citizens.
By: Laura Grevas, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — There are no blueprints just yet, but members of the Senior Citizen’s Facility Committee are optimistic about their progress toward the realization of a facility for the community’s senior citizens.
“The outlook has gotten brighter as it keeps moving further along. There wasn’t any shortage of people wanting to get involved in the subject,” said City Council Alderman Mike Woll, who represents the council on the committee. “We (probably) feel better right now about moving forward than we have during the whole process.”
The committee was formed late last year after council expressed desire to take a more organized and aggressive approach to pursuing a senior citizen’s facility.
Alice Hoffman, the senior coordinator leading the group, has been employed by the city to research issues surrounding a potential senior center.
“We’re not just going to jump forward until we know some of our assets and it takes a lot of back up work. There’s already lots of places for fitness, there’s senior dining already at the American Reformed Church. There’s a lot of things a person has to look at,” she said. “When you’re dealing with the seniors, there’s a lot of different interests.”
The committee has considered developing programs without walls, activities that could be done in the summer months without a facility.
She said the 15-person committee meets twice monthly and has toured other senior facilities, including those in Marshall and Sioux Falls.
Three subcommittees deal with specific aspects of developing a facility.
The first aims to address immediate needs of seniors in the community and consider the expansion or improvement of existing programs until a facility can be built.
“We’re talking to the seniors at MC fitness. They’re saying ‘Why move again temporarily?’ Let’s just stay where we are and work from there — just expand activities, maybe do some crafts or chair exercises,” explained Hoffman, referring to the seniors who currently play pool and cards at MC Fitness in Worthington.
A building subcommittee is charged with studying area demographics, determining senior needs and researching the logistics of building a facility.
“We want to know what is already being offered so we don’t double up and overlap when planning and building,” said Hoffman. “We want to find out who would use it, what are the … state, federal and city limits on a building?”
The third subcommittee researches ways to fund and market a potential facility, “tapping into the community to see what (funding) partners would be available,” Hoffman said. The committee wants to make the potential facility affordable, but also capable of generating enough revenue to “pay some if its own bills,” she said.
The committee has been given $5,000 by the city council to assist with planning costs, but the money won’t be spent until the committee develops a firmer idea of what costs may be incurred.
The debate also continues over whether the senior center should be a seniors-only facility.
“Personally, I think it should be more of an adult center geared toward senior needs,” said Hoffman. “People think ‘seniors’ are ten years older than what (they) are, and we have a diverse community. We need to reach out to minorities in town and other cultures to include them and see what their needs are too.”
The next meeting of the Senior Citizen’s Facility Committee is 4 p.m. Thursday at MC Fitness and is open to the public.