The Park City Senior Center has been granted 501(c)3 non-profit status. Park City Senior Citizens, Inc. now has the ability to apply for grants and fundraise for programs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a rough time for everyone, but senior citizens have been hit especially hard.
Not only are they the demographic most susceptible to serious complications from COVID-19, but the mental health of seniors is also a concern with many spending long stretches in isolation away from family and friends.
The senior center’s Diane Sanchez says the move to become non-profit allows the organization to raise funds to bring more of their traditional programs online. She hopes the move will help keep Park City’s senior community together during the pandemic.
“We’re working very hard to keep the seniors as a community and, as you know, as it becomes winter, colder, darker, we want to still have a feeling of a place to gather and socialize and be a part of a community,” said Sanchez.
KPCW has previously reported that Park City announced a new senior center would be built on Park Avenue, just across from the Park City Library and skate park, in late June. The city plans to build affordable housing at the location of the current senior center at 1361 Woodside Avenue, but many of the community’s seniors have resisted that move.
Some members of the senior community have expressed frustration in the possibility the new building might not be a 24/7 space for seniors, only during what the city called “traditional senior meeting times.”
Sanchez says the center has been the community’s home for decades and serves as more than just the meeting space for the community.
“The senior center has been the senior’s home now for some 44 years so it is home and it is the center that the seniors know,” Sanchez explained. “And it has the history, it’s a history lesson in the making and so many of the seniors now, Peggy Fletcher, are a who’s who of the history of Park City, so it is a very lovely place.”
The senior center claims they have a valid 99-year lease with the city for the current location, beginning in 1976.
Park City Municipal staff were unavailable to comment on this story but KPCW has reported the city does dispute the validity of the 99-year lease.
Sanchez says there has not been much dialogue between seniors and the city since earlier this summer.
“Well, there actually has been no activity between the seniors and the city of late,” she said. “I’d say we’re in a holding pattern. We seem to be in neutral, not going anywhere. We had numerous meetings early on this year, and of course the city has quite a few irons in the fire as well, so that’s where we are. We are definitely in a holding pattern.”
The city has plans to break ground at the new senior center next spring with a projected completion date of fall 2021. The current senior center will remain in use until construction is complete.
Park City Senior Citizens, Inc. will also be a part of this year’s Live PC Give PC community non-profit fundraiser. Live PC Give PC is organized by the Park City Community Foundation and takes place on November 6th. For more information, visit livepcgivepc.org.