Park City Council Gets Feedback On Senior Center Over Coffee
The public conversation on Park City’s proposal to build a new $2 million Senior Center on a green space parcel in City Park continued Tuesday. During the monthly Coffee with Council, city and county officials brought some added viewpoints along with a longer-range look into the growing senior population in Summit County.
Park City Council Member Nann Worel says not enough Summit County residents who are over 60 are weighing in on what they would like to see for senior services. Worrel is the council liaison to the Park City-based Senior Center. It is currently located on Woodside Avenue where affordable housing is slated to be built on city-owned property.
"What are the barriers? Why do people not feel like the Senior Center has something and how can we do a better job of offering things that are of interest to a broader group of people,” Worel said. “I've had it suggested to me many times that we need to take the word’ senior’ out of the name. And the mayor alluded to that earlier. You know that people might be more willing to come if it wasn't a Senior Center and we had some catchy name for it.”
Park City Community Development Manager Jonathan Weidenhamer has worked on the senior center project for at least three years and showed design drawings to the nearly 50 people who were on the zoom call. People have told him they are looking for simple things like having a gathering space where a pot of coffee is on during the day. Providing a big screen TV where people can watch a game on a Sunday afternoon after skiing is another suggestion.
Mayor Andy Beerman says a lot of people in the 60-plus age range don’t define themselves as senior citizens.
“Many of us don’t view ourselves as seniors because we are so active and involved in the community," Beerman said. "So, I hope as we look at the aging alliance, do all their work going forward, maybe we can come up with a better definition. So, we can be more inclusive of our aging community and what all those needs are.”
Summit County supports three separate senior centers located in Coalville, Kamas and Park City. Summit County Councilor Glenn Wright says out of approximately 5000 seniors, the county is serving less than 1% with lunches, meals on wheels and mobility services.
“This really has to be a community conversation amongst the entire Summit County community and the senior community. We have to decide what our priorities are in the community, how we're going to fund those services. We’ve discussed joint, private partners, public partnerships in the past.”
Beerman read a question from a resident Peg Bodell, who was participating in the virtual meeting.
“She says, ‘I’m getting mixed messages. On one hand we need to provide for 5000 seniors in the county, on the other hand, we're designing a quick fix facility for a handful of seniors who have been attending lunches for the past three years. Have we answered the basic questions; do we want seniors integrated into the community or a cozy private senior cave?’”
Beerman wants to hear more from seniors outside of those currently involved in the senior center.
“Most feedback we've had is from the particular group we're working with now, but we know there are others out there that want to see an expansion of services and hearing from them would be helpful as part of this conversation.”
A vocal group of senior center members have spoken out against the new center.The 99-year lease granted in the ’70s to the seniors is one issue as is the concern over having a permanent, dedicated facility. Ray Freer wonders what the group wishes to see with the new facility.
“I haven’t heard questions from the very active group of Senior Center people,” Freer said. “And I don't mean to put an onus on that but you’ve described a lot of things that you hope to achieve with the new building and I haven't heard from several people that are I know are very active with the Senior Center.”
The city is asking for more public input. A survey can be found on parkcity.org, along with details of the project.