Park City and senior community ready to re-engage over Woodside housing project
After a disagreement over a 99-year lease for the location of the Park City Senior Center, the city and its senior community say they are ready for a fresh start.
Park City’s plans to relocate the senior center on Woodside Avenue and build affordable housing in that spot date back almost a decade. Designs for the new facility on Park Avenue were revealed in the summer of 2020, and a groundbreaking was expected to happen this spring. But the seniors had other plans.
The city faced stiff opposition from the senior community, who voted unanimously to stay put and argued that a 99-year lease on the property dating back to 1976 was still valid. Construction never began and the senior center still stands on Woodside.
At Thursday's meeting, the city council recognized the seniors’ wish to stay, and staff announced plans to hold a senior housing listening session on December 3rd.
There are still plans to build affordable housing at the site, called the Woodside Phase II project, and councilors floated the idea of better integrating the center into those plans going forward.
Senior Center board member Cheryl Soshnik says the senior community’s housing needs are diverse, and range from independent living situations to more assisted living facilities that provide a sense of community for Park City’s elder residents.
She says she is happy to see the city’s new direction on the issue and welcomes the conversation of how to best handle the Woodside project.
“I really am encouraged that the council and mayor have acknowledged that there was a lack of communication in the past, and that by working together we can turn this whole thing with the housing and where our center is located and the Woodside Phase II into a win-win situation," she says. "I am really hoping that this will come to fruition.”
Regarding the 99-year lease, Mayor Andy Beerman tells KPCW he’d like to see a new lease put in place that acknowledges the seniors’ wishes, while also closing some of the gaps that led to the dispute in the first place.
“That’s a very old lease with challenges," says Beerman. "If we go to court over that lease, it’s gonna be a win-lose. One side or the other is gonna win it all. The council’s intent is to leave the seniors in there for as long as they want. The seniors’ desire is very clear to stay. My recommendation to everybody involved is just do a new lease that represents that, something that’s modern, something that isn’t full of holes, and something that a bunch of lawyers aren’t going to make a ton of money arguing over, because I think we’re all on the same page. The council wants the seniors to have a home there, the seniors want to stay. Let’s figure out a way to codify that that we’re not gonna argue over and it’s gonna be a win-win.”
Soshnik says while she can’t speak for all of the seniors, she thinks a new lease to go along with a revised Woodside plan would be well-received by the community.
“If we’re working towards a mutual goal of having a senior center in this location that would serve our needs and include some housing, the lease thing would actually have to probably come with the whole deal," Soshnik says. "If we incorporate into the Woodside Phase II, I would think that would be a part of the entire process in the first place.”
The senior housing forum will be Friday, December 3rd at 1:00pm in the Park City Library’s community room.