Part of the state budget approved by lawmakers last week includes $7 million for a brand new senior center in Traverse City, and that’s great news for seniors and local governments.
The senior center has been a topic of conversation for more than 20 years, as the facility continues to age and the demand for services continues to increase. But $7 million from the state just about covers the estimated cost of building new. Plans have been well underway for design and construction to begin.
But Mayor Richard Lewis says the state money takes the pressure off the discussion of how to fund it. “It’s one of those tough talks we don’t have to have about ‘how we are going to fund it?’ And now we’ve just got to figure out what it is we are going to build,” Lewis says. “That’s where we’ve got to go next, is to say ‘let’s get the final construction drawings.’ There’s some discussion that maybe we have too much building, and ‘why can’t we just scale back as an option?’ So now comes the work of getting it done.”
At the county level – leaders may still have to turn to voters for a millage to fund senior center operations. But Lewis points out the county has already committed $250,000 to new construction, along with $400,000 raised by the group the “Friends of the Senior Center” through various fundraisers over the past 20 years.
For the Mayor, his attitude is, “keep our fingers crossed and hopefully we are pretty close.”