****The first public meeting to solicit input for a new Senior Enrichment Center has been announced (with less than 3 business days’ notice) and is scheduled for Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.in the Social Room of the Oak Ridge Civic Center.***
Please consider attending Tuesday’s meeting and letting the city know that we don’t want and cannot afford to spend millions of dollars for a facility to replace one that is used by <5% of Oak Ridgers and hundreds of non-paying, non-residents.
A few weeks ago, prior to my article running, I submitted the following questions to city manager Mark Watson. He provided me with the answers which originated from Josh Collins, the director of parks and recreation. As you can see, a tremendous amount of time and money has already been wasted on just studying this venture.
1. After deducting fees collected, payments from Anderson County, etc, how much does the city pay annually to sustain this program including staff payroll, maintenance, rent, utilities, etc.?
Actual Fiscal Year 2010 expenditures total $ 262,627
The Fiscal Year 2012 General Fund Budget for the Senior Center is $286,036.
2. How many different studies has the city of Oak Ridge conducted on the subject of a new senior center over the last 15 years?
In September, 1999, City Council approved a contract for $5,000 with Adams, Craft, Herz & Walker (ACHW) to conduct a needs assessment and develop a concept plan for a new Senior Center.
In January, 2001, City Council approved a contract for $103,000 with ACHW to design a new Senior Center to be built in Bissell Park.
In May, 2008, the City Manager approved a contract for $9,500 with ACHW to evaluate Trinity UMC as a possible site for a new Senior Center
3. What were the total costs of those studies?
4. What year did the seniors move out of the community center (AKA the Wildcat Den)?
In August, 1999, City Council voted to rent 9,694 sq.ft. of space at the Daniel Arthur Building from Anderson County for 3-5 years for a Senior Center.
In October, 1999, the seniors moved in.
5. Did they leave of their own choosing or did the city make them leave?
In February, 1999, City Council dropped planned renovations to the Robertsville Road Senior Center from the budget and directed the staff to develop options to relocate to Senior Center. The previous year, the City had spent over $100,000 to level sinking floors, to provide limited upgrades to the restrooms and to correct drainage problems at the rear of the building. Planned renovations that were dropped included replacing three HVAC units, correcting settling problems along the outside walls, replacing all exterior doors, parking lot expansion and electrical upgrades. City Council did not want to spend any more money at the 102 Robertsville Road site.
6. Is it true that the city has the option to purchase the portion of the Emory Valley Building that fronts Emory Valley road (including the senior center portion) from A.C. in 2014 for $1?
The lease signed in September, 2009, gives the City the option to purchase, for municipal purposes, the Daniel Arthur Buildings (three buildings) that front on Emory Valley Road for $1.