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Park City Seniors Want City Council To Plan For Long-term Solutions

Dozens of people sit in the city council chambers
KPCW Radio

The Park City Council heard 30 minutes of public input from seniors in the community Thursday, as the city looks at different options for temporarily locating the senior center. 

The Park City Council made clear the item before them on Thursday’s agenda only addressed a temporary location for the senior center—not a long-term plan, not a continuum of care facility, not any other senior services in the community. But Park City Senior Center Board Member Cheryl Soshnik says that’s the problem—the short and long-term solutions must go hand-in-hand.

“You can't say, we're going to put you somewhere, we're going to do something and then we're going to address what's going to happen next," Soshnik said. "Might be five years, it might be 10 years. As we've said many times—and Nann [Worel] has heard it—well, we'll all be dead by the time we have the new location. You have to remember you're working with the seniors, and we've already just actually lost a couple of really important ones in the last little while.”

The current senior center on Woodside Avenue is slated to close with the construction of the city’s Woodside Park Phase II housing development. The plan was for the Christian Center to temporarily host the seniors for their twice-weekly lunches and other gatherings. But construction on Woodside Park is held up, the seniors remain in the center they’ve been in since 1976 and the city is now considering temporary locations other than the Christian Center.

Park City resident Peg Bodell says the conversation around seniors needs to change from where they can meet for lunch twice a week to how they can participate and thrive in the community for the next 40 years.

“We have a wealth of knowledge with our seniors here that we should take advantage of and that we should use and integrate into the community," Bodell said. "I don't believe that a senior lunch once or twice a week is going to make it anymore.”

The city says it’s working with Summit County and the Park City School District on a concept for a multi-generational community services center. That’s after Park City’s most recent plans to construct a community center in City Park. Forty-year resident Eleanor Griffin says the current facility functions well for seniors, but the city has changed its plans for seniors many times. Because of that, Griffin says she doesn’t believe the city will move the seniors to an appropriate facility.

“I cannot have confidence that you value the seniors enough to make them a priority,” Griffin said.

Some community members who gave public comment asked about the seniors’ lease with the city on the current center, saying the seniors have a 99-year lease on the facility. The staff report says the city is looking into the terms of the lease.

The city council instructed staff to search for a market-rate rental space that “checks all the boxes” for seniors’ needs in the short-term.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.
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