Everett talking about senior center reopening in long-term future
EVERETT — The Carl Gipson Senior Center could reopen as soon as this fall under a forthcoming deal for Volunteers of America Western Washington (VOA) to manage the center, city parks director Bob Leonard told the City Council last week.
First, a final agreement between the city and VOA needs to be reached. Leonard said he anticipates it could be this summer.
Even if that’s reached, reopening the center depends “heavily on COVID numbers” and restrictions, he said.
The VOA is still doing its due diligence on how to ensure there is a sustainable, long-term funding model for the center, the nonprofit’s spokesman Cory Armstrong-Hoss said.
Additionally, everything has to be COVID safe before it could reopen. “All those (COVID-19) questions are on the table we’re wrestling with,” Armstrong-Hoss said.
The city has said previously it would like it to reopen the Carl Gipson as an independently funded center that doesn’t use city dollars.
The city closed the center and laid off its four staff members last April as one of many swift budget reductions, totaling $3.4 million, to respond to coronavirus shutdowns disrupting the economy.
It cost about $600,000 to staff and run the center, according to the city budget.
VOA’s involvement would be under a public-private partnership. The city solicited for public-private proposals last fall as a way to reinvigorate park properties while earning some money.
Among these, the city is still talking with a company called Synergo to lease part of Forest Park for it to install an adventure ropes course and challenge course, Leonard said last week.
The City Council approved a deal last week to have the YMCA of Snohomish County lease space to run camps at Camp Patterson for the next five years at Thornton A. Sullivan Park. Everett is also talking with a company to continue paddleboard rentals on Silver Lake and talking with Premier Golf to continue a contract to manage the city’s two golf courses.
Last but not least, earlier this year the city finished a deal with the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) to take over operating the adult softball leagues at Kasch Park, which have since started playing.
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