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Meeting set to discuss senior housing

KPCW Radio

After a few communication break downs, Park City senior citizens will sit down with government officials this week to forge a path ahead for the future of the Old Town Senior Center and the development of the 2nd phase of the Woodside Park affordable housing project.

A meeting has been set for Friday afternoon at the Park City Library. Park City Senior Center spokeswoman Cheryl Soshnik says she’s excited to see a change of heart by the city council after years of division and disagreement.

In 2020, the city council announced plans to build a new senior center in City Park to make way for the Woodside Park affordable housing development in Old Town. Seniors said no, they’re not moving, and a neighbor successfully appealed the proposed development, sending things back to the drawing board.

Now Soshnik expects to see a process emerge in which they can talk more about Woodside Park and how seniors can be incorporated into that development, but more important, she says, is to discuss senior housing in general.

She notes that Wasatch County has a huge senior community, as does Oakley and even other regional ski resorts like Jackson Hole and Steamboat Springs. Park City’s time she says has come.

“And we're worried now because the town is losing any remaining space to build facilities and the land has gotten so expensive and the needs are still there,” Soshnik said. “As our population continues to age and people want to stay in place -- they want to age in place. And so, this is the perfect time to actually have a forum to find out - what are people still looking for? How can we do it? What are some concrete ideas -- like what can we do to get some developers interested? Where can we put some of these places? We just want to hear from the community and try to rally the folks one more time.”

Park City’s Affordable Housing Manager Rhoda Stauffer says the seniors realize the issue is not just a Park City problem.

“She’s got county reps that are coming to this meeting, because with full knowledge - with a whole idea of a continuum of care idea. It's not likely that there's any space in Park City for something like that,” Stauffer said. “So, she wants the county at the table. And they will be there on Friday at the meeting.”

The meeting will also be an opportunity for seniors to let city and county leaders know what they want. Stauffer and Soshnik believe seniors want a community as well as some continuum of care facilities.

“And what I've heard from some of the seniors in the past when we've done surveys and things is the whole idea of the independent living piece is that they're in a community,” Stauffer said. “It's not just a, you know, someone has their apartment and goes about their business. They have the opportunity to eat together, there's the opportunity to sign up for meals. There are some components to it that help create a community and that's what I hear people wanting.

Yes, because many of the seniors who would be looking into this are solo seniors, you know, their partners have gone or they've whatever you know, they are actually looking to the community for their family,” Soshnik added.

After Park City’s plans to develop phase two of Woodside Park fell apart, Soshnik and Stauffer think they can have the conversation now about what happens there.

“I think that's really one of the big things that we would like to see in Park City,” Soshnik said. “Centrally located where you can get to the buses, you can walk downtown. The location of Woodside Phase two and the current Senior Center is absolutely perfect. One block off of the busy Park Avenue on a quiet street, centrally located, so I would love to see that be an area where we could have what I'm looking for.”

The senior listening session will be held at the Park City Library community room Friday from 1 to 2:30 pm.