Oregon is considering funding an expansion of the senior center on Bayshore Road to accommodate plans for more activities and services there.
“We believe that with the resources the city has available, we’ll have the funds to devote to an upgrade of facilities,” said Administrator Mike Beazley. “It’s ultimately council’s decision during the budget process next month.”
Another possibility is an upgrade of the recreation facility, he added.
“Upgrading the senior center is certainly the leading contender. But there are many other things still on the table the city has explored together with other partners. The commitment is to invest in, and upgrade facilities.”
The city this year has a budget surplus of over $4 million, and $6 million in its “rainy day” fund.
Oregon voters next month will be asked to pass a 0.5 mill, five year levy for an expansion of services and activities for seniors at the center. The levy is expected to bring in over $200,000 annually.
Beazley said the expansion of the building does not hinge on whether the levy passes.
“It’s separate from the levy. The city, in the next budget cycle, is looking to make decisions we’ve been working on for quite a number of years. We could do a combination of several of these things. They’re all on the table. But the city and a majority of council is ready to make an investment to meet these needs,” said Beazley.
The city could earmark up to $1 million in funds to expand the center.
“The mayor and council have discussed the fact that we’re going to make sure we step up and take care of capital projects that have been delayed during the recession. The top priority will be our streets. But in addition to that, either for financial reasons or lack of consensus, it’s really time for us to make some decisions on our senior facility and recreation facility,” he said.
“We do support the seniors and we are willing to give a big sum of money for bricks and mortar,” said Councilman Jim Seaman, chairman of the Finance Committee.
Seaman said Oregon’s senior center is smaller than other senior centers he has visited in area communities.
“Ours is the smallest. It’s not a very big building, no separate walls, no partitions. There are no dedicated areas to work on certain crafts. So if you’re working on something, you have to put everything away and get everything back out the next day instead of leaving it out to work on the next day,” he said.
The city provided funds years ago to remodel and upgrade its former sewer plant on Bayshore Road to convert it into the James Wes Hancock senior center. The city owned building does not charge rent for the use of the building by seniors.