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Park City Seniors Organize New Group To Advocate For Preservation Of Senior Center

KPCW Radio

Park City Senior Center members formed the Save Our Senior Center committee in January, after unanimously voting to remain in the building that’s sat on 1361 Woodside Ave. since the late 1970s. The seniors’ meeting place is set to move for the construction of Park City Municipal’s Woodside Park Phase II affordable housing development.

Former Park City Councilmember Marianne Cone is one member on the committee. Cone says the committee’s focus is to keep the senior center where it is until there’s a viable, permanent alternative for them.

“I try not to use this word too often—the word 'pathetic,'" Cone said. "But I think it's a little pathetic in a town of this world class ... we should have a good facility for everybody.”

A statement from the committee outlines the history of the Park City Senior Center. In 1976, Park City community members paid to transport the old Keetley Train Depot from Wasatch County to Park City Municipal Corporation-owned land—the spot where it resides on Woodside Avenue. In July 1976, Cone says the Park City Council approved a 99-year-lease—at $1 rent per year—with the seniors. The building was dedicated in 1978.

Park City Municipal approached the seniors in 2015 about moving to a new, joint facility for seniors and youth in City Park, to make way for the affordable housing development. The committee says both parties agreed on a plan for the new facility in 2018. But the city came back later that year saying the seniors would move to a temporary location for a few years while the Woodside Park development was under construction.

The senior center was scheduled to temporarily move to the Christian Center of Park City in Summer 2019. Cone says the city has taken that option off the table but explains the issues with the Christian Center.

“They couldn’t leave anything from day to day there," Cone said. "You couldn’t leave a deck of cards or a card table, and to have to fold everything up and put it away every time really became a lot of work for a bunch of old folks.”

The city says the 99-year-lease is no longer valid, though seniors hold firm that it is. As of Friday morning, Park City Municipal hadn’t responded to KPCW’s request to clarify whether the lease is valid. Cone says the ball is in the city’s court.

“We are making the assumption, and the membership has voted unanimously, that we want to stay in that building as long as the lease is valid and we're allowed to stay there," Cone said. "There are some people who worked very hard to be in that building, and we just think it should stay.”

Cone says the senior center membership has grown to 150 members from 90 last year, and the center has beefed up its programming. She says a viable group of people keeps the building busy.

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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