The new facility has been in the planning stages for over two years. According to Elaine Bremner, executive director of the Senior Center, a new location for the Senior Center is long overdue.
"There are multiple reasons why our present location is inadequate," says Bremner. The Senior Center has been located in the former Assembly of God Church in Old Town Cottonwood since 1979.
"The church building was never intended to serve the purpose of housing a kitchen that serves thousands of meals a year," says Bremner.
In fiscal 2003, the Senior Center has served over 55,600 meals to seniors throughout the Verde Valley. That is an average of 6,636 more meals per year than were served during the prior two years.
Additionally, the parking is inadequate, the facility, equipment and infrastructure are outdated, and the staff is pressured to meet the growing needs of the Verde Valley senior population. The population in the Verde Valley is projected to grow by over 12,000 in the next five years, with 22 percent of that growth to be people over 60 years of age.
County Supervisor Chip Davis has been the primary driving force behind the construction of a new facility. Davis presently serves as chairman of the Senior Center board of directors. The site for the new center will be at the old County Roads building on 6th Street.
"It’s a great brick historic building. We have a vision for renovating it to create a state-of-the-art Senior Center that will be the pride of the Verde Valley," says Davis. The county is working out a deal by which the building will be leased to the Senior Center for a dollar per year, with an option to purchase. So far, $936,000 in Community Development Block Grants has been committed by the towns of Cottonwood, Camp Verde and Clarkdale. It is estimated that another $250,000 will be needed to complete the project.
"This is a very expensive endeavor, but our seniors deserve our best effort," concludes Davis.
Contributions of time, materials and cash are necessary to make this dream a reality. Individuals and/or organizations that are interested in contributing may contact Elaine Bremner at 634-5450 or Supervisor Davis at 639-8110.