Task force to discuss future of Marquette Senior Center

MARQUETTE – The Marquette Senior Service Task Force will hold a community meeting Wednesday to further discuss the future of the city’s senior center.

“We’re looking at this as a move from the senior center concept to a modern community center, with a senior component,” said Stan Bigham, chair of the task force.

Bigham’s group has been working to complete a number of senior-related tasks, including the evaluation of the current senior center, located in the lower level of city hall.

During a January update to the city commission, Bigham and a representative from U.P. Engineers and Architects stated that the current center is lacking. There is limited parking in that area and no bus routes run by the door to the center. Additionally, they said, the infrastructure of the building is outdated and little has been done to it since the 1970s.

Wednesday’s meeting will be in the Citizens Forum Room in Lakeview Arena, which is fitting. The task force at the meeting with the city commission suggested moving the senior center from its current location in the lower level of city hall and into a refurbished Citizens Forum Room.

That shift would likely cost about $585,000, according to the task force, which mentioned the possibility of leveraging a millage for the project.

The cost of building a new senior center facility could be $1.25 million and the price tag to renovate the existing center would be about $673,000.

City commissioners were cautiously optimistic about moving the center, but were not sold on the proposed location, which some said was uninviting and imperonal.

Bigham said this most recent series of meetings – in addition to the upcoming Wednesday meeting, there were three last week – will help the task force decide which of the three options most appeals to the senior population.

The senior population, he said, is constantly changing. Moving forward, it will grow rapidly. As the administrator at Marquette’s Arcadia Home Care and Staffing, Bigham said he has a good idea about what the current senior center regulars want.

“But I need to talk to people that may not think they are going to attend a senior center, because at some point in their life, they will,” he said.

In an attempt to facilitate attendance for Wednesday’s meeting, Marq-Tran will provide free transportation from local senior housing complexes, including Snowberry Heights, Oakwood Village, Lost Creek and Cherry Creek Village.

Wednesday’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Citizens Forum Room in Lakeview Arena.

Residents can register for the bus trips by calling the senior center at 228-0456.

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.