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Senior center eyed in Kent

May be part of city's proposed recreation facility

By BOB GAETJENS Staff Writer Published: July 10, 2017 4:00 AM

Seniors in Kent may get a new senior center as part of the parks and recreation department's proposed recreation center.

Or it may be somewhere else.

Kent City Council discussed where would be the appropriate place for a senior center, either in a recreation center or in separate location in a stand alone facility.

Councilwoman Melissa Long brought the topic up for discussion at Wednesday's meeting.

"If the senior center is placed in another building outside our city hall, which is nonexistent, should it be placed with parks and recreation or some other department within the city?" she asked.

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Seniors within Kent currently can participate in the Silver Sneakers exercise program at the city's fitness center on West Main Street.

Usually, she said senior centers are operated separately from the parks and recreation department.

"A senior center within a city is run by City Council, so you are the ones who create the senior center; you budget the money for the senior center; the personnel comes through the city manager," she said. "It's a council budgetary decision as to how big, small or in between you want a senior center inside the city to be."

She said the center could feature informational sessions for seniors about what legislation the state and federal government is considering that would affect them.

Parks and Recreation Director John Idone said he's in favor of locating a senior center within the proposed recreation center in Kent near the corner of Middlebury Road and Haymaker Parkway. Voters will decide a bond issue this November that would pay for its construction.

"The concept of an intergenerational facility makes the most sense from a staffing standpoint," he said. "The partnership we're proposing with a health partner would bring in all kinds of programs about diabetes and taking care of older adults."

Councilwoman Heidi Shaffer said Aurora's senior center, which is based in an administrative building that also houses several other city departments, offers seniors crafts, game playing, day trips and more.

Streetsboro's senior center has been located in two former classrooms in the old school building that's been used for many years as City Hall. At that center, trips to casinos and other attractions are featured. At the center, seniors gather daily to play cards, chair volleyball, partake in exercise classes, and participate in holiday parties. The center also hosts informational presentations on topics of interest to seniors.

Streetsboro Mayor Glenn Broska said he would like to include the senior center in a new proposed recreation center. A levy is on the ballot this fall to build that facility and operate the parks and recreation department.

Council members asked Long to research what's offered in other area senior centers to present to council at a future meeting.


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