On a given Monday or Thursday, the Park City Senior Center sees anywhere from 20 to 45 people coming through for lunch and socializing. Many who have made it part of their routine are having difficulty grappling with the impending transition to the Christian Center of Park City, when construction on the Woodside Park Phase 2 housing development closes the center.
“I like all my people. I do not want to move. But, things happen.”
Judy Maedel has lived in the Park City area for 40 years and has been coming to the Senior Center on Woodside Ave. for 10 of them. Maedel is the president of the Senior Center board, and like many of the members, she’s concerned about the move.
"I sort of had a little lecture to myself and others that we just have to accept what's coming," Maedel said. "It's not ideal, but it's what we have."
Cheryl Soshnik was part of the committee that chose the Christian Center as a temporary location for seniors. She likes the Christian Center, but it still has significant shortcomings for their needs.
"The fact that we have no storage there; the fact that everything has to be set up each day and taken down every afternoon; and a lot of the things that people do here to make it a community are not going to be available were the drawbacks—and we knew that," Soshnik said. "But looking at the other places that were available to us, they had more drawbacks than that."
Peggy Fletcher, a nearly 60-year Park City resident who has also been attending the center for a decade, worries about the uncertainty of the relocation timeframe.
“The word temporary is very alarming," Fletcher said. "Temporary could be a year, five years, 10 years—I don't know what the description of temporary is.”
In 2017, the City’s plans for a senior and youth community center at City Park were moving forward. But Park City Economic Development Manager Jonathan Weidenhamer says that proposal was put on hold during the Spring 2018 budgeting process, to fund Woodside Park Phase 2—there wasn’t enough money in the Lower Park Avenue Redevelopment fund for both. Park City is now in preliminary talks with Summit County and the Park City School District to collaborate on a new community center—with no timeline for completion.
For a permanent center, Soshnik says she’d like to have a facility large enough to accommodate a growing number of people and activities. If there were space for more physical activities—like a group fitness class—Soshnik thinks it would attract a demographic in Park City she refers to as “the younger seniors.”
“There are a lot of us out there, but many of them refuse to admit that they’re seniors," Soshnik said. "They don't come here because all they know that happens here is that people come in, and it's very sedentary.”
Maedel says if the relocation to the Christian Center isn’t for long, the seniors will deal with it.
"It would be nice to have something more permanent, so that we could know that it was our center and our place," Maedel said. "At our age, I think we deserve that."
The Senior Center on Woodside Ave. is set to close on August 1, 2019.