Editorial: Moving senior center is wrong moveWhen the Farmington City Council agreed to turn its former city hall into a new home base for the city’s seniors, the senior community agreed to pitch in. They raised money and volunteered their time to do much of the work that went into the conversion.
When the Farmington City Council agreed to turn its former city hall into a new home base for the city’s seniors, the senior community agreed to pitch in. They raised money and volunteered their time to do much of the work that went into the conversion.
Now that the seniors have lived up to their end of deal, some city council members are raising the possibility of moving them out. During a budget discussion Monday, there was talk that maybe the senior center could be moved into empty space on the upper level of city hall, or that the center could split time as a teen center
Clearly this is early in the process and there are a lot of ideas on the table, but we hope this is not an option the city pursues in its search for budget cuts.
For one thing, the move would be a big step backward in terms of space for senior programs. While we don’t have square-footage numbers in front of us, the city hall space, designed as an office and presumably intended to return to that use at some point as Farmington grows, would be less flexible than what is available now. The current Rambling River Center has rooms for meetings and for exercise. It has a kitchen and a dining room. There is even space for a model-train layout. How much of that could make the transition?
For another thing, showing Farmington seniors the door just after they finished meeting their financial obligations would be a big slap in the face. Essentially, the city would be saying, Thanks for the help, now please see yourself out.
The teen center option would be more palatable. At least the city would be getting more use out its building. But unless someone on the center’s limited staff is going to work longer hours for the same pay, we’re not sure where the savings come in.
Clearly the city has to make some difficult decisions as it considers its budget. But this is the wrong way to go about it.