Lexington is considering building a new recreation center for the elderly and people with disabilities

When Lexington opens a new, bigger, brighter store 2016 Idol Hour Park Senior CenterThe response from my seniors was simply overwhelming.

Mayor Linda Gorton said, “It was almost full.”

Currently, popular programs, especially exercise classes, have a waiting list.

Meanwhile, the city’s therapeutic recreation program for adults and children with disabilities requires improved equipment upgrades. The Dunbar Community Center has a one-day program for adults with disabilities, while the old buildings in the parks of Castlewood and Woodland have other programs. These spaces are not ideal, said Monica Conrad, director of Parks and Recreation.

Gorton said it’s obsolete to deal with the lack of space in both efforts.

Gorton spends about $ 10 million on a 22,000-square-foot senior and recreation therapy building to build a permanent home for the city’s therapeutic recreation program, for exercise and recreation programs for the elderly. We are proposing to provide additional space for.

The tentative plan includes a multipurpose room that can be divided. Group fitness room and room with fitness equipment. Art and Crafts Studio.

According to data provided by the city, the current senior center offered 57 exercise classes per week in 2019. Nearly 75% of these classes reached capacity. The Senior Center added 125 new memberships per month in 2019. The average number of attendees per day was 368.

Gorton said of integrating the two programs into one space “provides a perfect fit.” This is the right thing to do for the citizens of this county. “

The suggested location is near where most of the elderly in Fayette County live.

Sally Hamilton, the city’s chief executive officer, said she considered possible locations for the city’s land, similar to when the city built its current senior center in Idol Hour Park in 2016. ..

According to Hamilton, the land adjacent to the Sirito Pool in Sirito Park was an ideal location for a new building. The city is saving money by building on land it owns, she said. The series pool already has parking, but if necessary, add parking to the land adjacent to the pool. There is space to do.

In addition, according to Gorton, US census data show that the majority of older people in Fayette County live on the south side of the town, near Silit, away from Reynolds Road.

“The elderly population is also growing,” Gorton said. The programming needs of that population will increase over the next few years.

Conrad said the park’s therapeutic recreation program is one of only three in Kentucky, run by the city park sector, and could be expanded with centralized locations. Therapeutic recreation began in 1955 in Lexington, thanks to a grant from the Joseph F. Kennedy Foundation. However, the program has never had its own centralized and renewed facility, Conrad said.

“This will also put the program under one roof,” said Conrad. It’s available to about 200 people at various camps and other activities. With more space, it can accommodate an additional 100 people. These programs range from fitness classes, swimming and kayaking to cooking and dance productions.

Hamilton says the combination of senior and treatment programs can reduce some of the operational costs.

In addition to all construction and design costs of $ 10 million, the city estimates that the plan will incur annual operating costs of $ 584,000. Of that, labor costs are about $ 321,000.

Gorton said, “There are ongoing costs that need to be discussed.

Gorton said she did not include the proposed seniors and recreation center Budget of $ 398 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1 City officials were working on the details of the proposal, including the expected costs.

The city expects $ 122 million to fund the US Rescue Planning Act over the next two years. Gorton said he prefers to use funds from the projected current year’s surplus for new buildings over federal coronavirus stimulus, which has many restrictions and bureaucracy.

The Lexington-Fayette City Council will hear more about this proposal in a city council working session on Tuesday. Voting is not yet scheduled.

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