Tigard council puts Senior Center remodel back on front burner

The City Council agrees to spend $100,000 on design fees and a conditional-use permit application

TIGARD - Should the Tigard Senior Center be remodeled and enlarged?

Last month, the City Council informally decided not to pursue the project at this time due to concerns that even with remodeling, the kitchen would not serve future needs if meals are cooked onsite instead of being delivered by Loaves and Fishes.

However, Joan Smith, executive director of Loaves and Fishes, and Bill Gerkin, chairman of the Tigard Senior Center Steering Committee, approached the council at its Aug. 17 work session asking it to reconsider.

Smith reiterated Loaves and Fishes' commitment to matching Tigard's contribution to the project up to $100,000.

Gerkin told the council that enlarging the center is a priority because 'we're gearing up for the baby boom coming up in the next few years.'

Councilor Sydney Sherwood and Mayor Craig Dirksen expressed concerns about the kitchen being large enough and meeting state standards for commercial kitchens if it is remodeled.

Last spring the council appropriated $200,000 in the current fiscal year for architectural consulting services for preliminary construction plans and a conditional-use permit application for the project, which is expected to cost about $1 million and would add about 1,280 square feet to the center.

For the last two fiscal years, the five-year capital improvement projects budget has included just over $1 million for the Senior Center upgrade in the 2007-08 fiscal year.

According to Loreen Mills, the city's risk manager, the Senior Center remodel would be done in two phases, with the kitchen and restrooms revamped in phase one and the addition of 1,280 square feet for a meeting/library room and garden room plus other changes in the second phase.

The city also can request $475,000 from the Washington County Community Development Block Grant program, which has $700,000 in available funds.

The council agreed to authorize the expenditure of $100,000 for architectural services and the permit application in a future consent agenda.

In June, the city entered into a new five-year lease agreement with Loaves and Fishes to provide meals, services and programming at the Tigard Senior Center, which was built in 1980. Loaves and Fishes spends about $300,000 per year in operating costs at the center, according to Mills.

About 30 seniors come for lunch every day, and the Meals-on-Wheels program serves between 75 and 90 meals per day, according to Smith.