Senior Center to stay put
Encountering strong opposition from seniors, the Perham City Council has backed off of an idea to relocate the Senior Center. A plan was proposed near the beginning of March to move the center from its current location inside Ma's Little Red Barn...
Encountering strong opposition from seniors, the Perham City Council has backed off of an idea to relocate the Senior Center.
A plan was proposed near the beginning of March to move the center from its current location inside Ma's Little Red Barn to a new spot inside the former hospital.
The new site would have allowed the senior center to share activities with Perham Living nursing home residents. Meals would have been delivered to them from the nursing home, as well.
The move would have meant the replacement of the center's current part-time director with a hospital staff person. Also, the center would no longer have had its own kitchen.
At a special city council meeting on Wednesday, council members voted unanimously to leave the senior center where it is. There was little discussion at the meeting.
"They were pretty adamant that they did not want to move," said councilor Harriet Mattfeld in a follow-up interview. "They just really enjoy where they're at, so we thought, 'Why should we force them to move if they don't want to go?'"
A few women who attend the Senior Center had previously told the Focus that they were against the move mostly due to parking issues and general location. They said they liked being close to downtown shops and the post office.
The council held a meeting with seniors at the new site in mid-March, to show them the new location and given them an idea of what operations there might look like.
About 25 seniors attended that meeting. When asked how many of them would continue to attend the Senior Center if it was moved, not a single person raised their hand.
In a telephone interview Thursday, Senior Center Director Carol Peters said the reaction to the news has been positive.
"They're thrilled that they're not moving," she said of the seniors. "I think everybody is so excited."
Originally, councilors said the move could be a good thing for the future of the Senior Center, ensuring that the center would never be without a director and offering seniors easier access to planned activities.
Either way, the cost to the city is about the same.
"The idea was good, and in another situation it might be the best thing," said Mattfeld. "But not at this point in time."
She said it will be at least another year before the council considers looking into it again.