Park City Municipal has announced plans to build a new Park City Senior Center across from the Park City Library, along Park Avenue.
If the plan is supported by the community’s seniors and other stakeholders, the city would begin construction next spring and plan to finish by the fall of 2021.
The city aims to relocate the current Senior Center, which sits on a parcel in the 1300 block between Park Avenue and Woodside that is planned for an affordable housing development.
During a press briefing on Monday, Mayor Andy Beerman said the city has been trying to find a new location for the Senior Center since 2011.
“We discussed with the seniors for almost two years,” Beerman said. “We looked at a variety of temporary locations that they might be able to move into while we worked with the county to build that regional center. And they really weren’t very pleased with the options that we put out there. There was a desire to move, when they move out of their current facility, to move into their permanent, next facility. And there were also just practical challenges. Like the Christian Center was one of the locations we looked at. And there were concerns about parking and not being on direct bus lines. So we’ve gone the rounds. And I think both sides have been a little bit frustrated that we’ve been working all in good faith, but unable to find a good solution.”
City officials said the seniors didn’t want to go into locations where they would have to share space, such as the Library or the PC MARC.
The Mayor said in the end, they settled on a parcel to the north of the Mawhinney parking lot area—bounded on one side, across the street, by the Library, and on the other side by the Skate Park.
“We realized that it would support a building about the size of the current Senior Center,” the mayor said. “It would maintain a very central location, right on our transit system. It’s got plenty of parking. It’s next to the library. It’s going to feel very much like part of the community. It allows us to create a space that’s gonna be slightly larger in terms of usable square footage for the seniors. It’s gonna allow for expanded programming. It’ll be more efficient use of the space so it should be able to seat more seniors as well as provide for larger classes as needed. And we think it keeps them in the core of the community.”
Mayor Beerman said the city understands that the new center is something of a mid-term solution.
“We believe that at some point, the county will build a Western Summit County Senior Center, which they might want to move into at that point,” he said. “At that point, we can repurpose this building to other community needs. In the meantime, it would be something that they would not have to miss any downtime in terms of if we’re able to move forward on this soon; we’ll have it ready before we need to take down the existing Senior Center. We did explore the possibility of just relocating the existing Senior Center because it is a historic building. There are a lot of folks who would like to see us preserve that. That was not practical to do. It was going to be a more expensive option. And ultimately, we think we have a third party that will take that building and find a good re-use for it. But it didn’t make the most sense to do that under these circumstances.”
He said the current Senior Center has about 2250 usable square feet. The new planned one-story building will have 2500 usable square feet.
City officials said they’ve budgeted about $1.7 million for the new building. The money comes partly from the General Fund and partly from the Lower Park Avenue Redevelopment Agency.
City Council Member Nann Worel, who serves as liaison to the Senior Center, said the patrons are excited about the plan. They’re also feeling a sense of urgency, because, she said, they’re not getting any younger.
She said this is a great chance to address an unserved population.
“We have a tremendous number of seniors in town that don’t use the services at the Senior Center, and for a variety of reasons,” Worel said. “We have a lot of seniors that don’t consider themselves seniors. I think this is a great opportunity for us to look at kind of rethinking the senior services, and how can we make a Senior Center that is more attractive to a broader cross-section of the seniors that are already in town.”
She said the new plan has a number of items the seniors want, such as dedicated storage; better parking; access to the bus route, the library and the ski area; an on-site professional kitchen and outside space including a patio.
Worrell said the new center could also allow for expanded programming.
“What we’re hearing from a lot of different seniors in the community is, the Senior Center, all it offers is lunch two days a week,” she said. “And folks can come and play puzzles or play pool or play cards. And so people that don’t currently use the Senior Center are saying, “I’m really not interested in doing that but I would be interested in a class or some lectures or something like that.”
The current Senior Center, which will be used until the new structure is built, has been closed since March 12, but patrons come there by appointment to pick up lunch.
The city is hosting three opportunities for information and public input. A Drive-Through Preview at the existing Center is set for this Thursday, 1 to 2 p.m. A Virtual Open House also takes place that afternoon from 3 to 4 p.m.
A Virtual Coffee With Council is set for Tuesday, July 7, from 9 to 10 a.m.