The city of Redmond’s parks and recreation department is strategizing city communication, transportation ideas and program relocations for the Redmond Senior Center (RSC).
The city council was updated on the progress of the RSC, which was closed for structural assessment on Sept 6. RSC recently underwent an exterior building evaluation in preparation for long-term maintenance and repairs outlined in the city’s capital improvement plan (CIP). The center’s mechanical systems, roof and building exterior are scheduled to be replaced in 2021. The evaluation was conducted by a contracted structural engineering firm, which confirmed extensive structural damage to the exterior and substantial impact to both the lateral and gravity systems.
Maxine Whattam, chief operating officer for the city, said the first phase of assessment will take an estimated eight weeks. She said they will continue to keep the community updated. When the report has been finalized, decisions about the future of the building will be determined.
“We really want to work to keep seniors in one location and the department is working very diligently to make that happen,” Whattam told the council at its Sept. 17 meeting.
Programs, rentals and events have been relocated to alternative locations with the goal of minimal impact to service for the senior community.
Drop-in options include the City Hall Bytes Cafe and the Redmond Community Center at Marymoor Village.
Carrie Hite, Redmond parks and recreation director, said the department is strategizing community communication, relocating programs and transportation ideas.
“We’ve identified areas in the community that could potentially move programs,” Hite said. “We’ve done that and seniors have been making it out to these programs.”
Hite said they still a few gaps they are working on and have been in touch with faith members in the community. Currently, the RSC is unable to provide the hot lunch program. Lunch program options include the Peter Kirk Community Center in Kirkland and the Catholic Community Services at the North Bellevue Community Center.
As for transportation, Hite told council they currently have only one ADA accessible bus. The department is trying to “patchwork” and provide transportation options for seniors to get to their programs and activities.
Updates will be provided every Wednesday at www.redmond.gov/RSC. To communicate updates, Hite said staff members have personally called seniors and printed schedules are in various locations. In addition, newsletters have also been mailed. The city has also developed an frequently asked questions section online.
Council has invested more than $20 million in the RSC from 2004-18. From 2019-24, council will have provided an additional $38 million. Overall, council has invested and is investing $57 million dollars toward the RSC.
Councilmember Steve Fields suggested it would be important to think about an interim location in the planning if it takes years for the RSC to recover.
“We will make our absolute best effort to keep our senior community together,” Whattam said. “It is a vital part of our community and we want to make sure our seniors are taken care of.”