norman seniors association
City Council seats in the odd-numbered wards will be up for (re)election next year. Seniors have some solid support on Council but need to elect more members who have our interests at heart. Please call your candidate and ask their position on a stand-alone senior center. Here’s a link to the Norman City Council webpage, where you can find Council Members’ profile pages with their phone numbers, email addresses, and much more: http://www.normanok.gov/cityclerk/city-council
Norman Seniors will host a candidates forum before the election so that you can meet the candidates, ask your questions, and hear their positions. We’ll let you know as the plan develops.
The city council and mayor agreed, in a study session held November 21, 2016, to consider placing funds for the senior center, as they become available, in an escrow account, with the goal of accumulating the necessary amount within five years. The money would come primarily from Norman Forward projects which come in under budget.
We urge you to contact city council and the mayor with your opinion. Address letters to the editor of the Norman Transcript to Caleb Slinkard, editor.
Your Association will continue to report to you as this situation develops.
THE OLD LIBRARY BUILDING IS UNSUITABLE FOR A SENIOR CENTER
And a Senior Center in Andrews Park Is Not Such a Bad Idea
At first glance, putting a senior center in the current central library building (known as the EL, for “Existing Library”) may seem like a money-saver and a practical option. Opponents of the plan may seem like just a few chronic complainers. First appearances are deceiving in this case, though, and here’s why.
In short, a senior center in the current central library building (the EL) could never be first class.
The senior center would be the odd duck on a municipal administrative campus. Seniors and City staff would share the building and end up competing for space and facilities. Neither could expand as their programs grow.
Seniors need a rich cultural and social environment instead of isolation among City offices. Municipal government will need space for expansion as Norman grows.
Problems with parking and traffic flow at the EL cannot be resolved. City officials think the parking lot north of the EL would provide enough spaces for everybody. They see no problem with seniors sharing the lot with City offices and Municipal Court. But what happens when the senior center holds a rock festival during office hours? What happens when an angry driver leaves municipal court and peels out of the parking lot while Grandma is inching toward the senior center with her cane or walker?
Parking spaces are already too limited in that area. North of the site is Andrews park with no space for more parking. West of the site there is already one City lot, connected to commercial zoning. Adding more parking to the west would have negative effects on a nice residential neighborhood. The areas to the south and east are already fully developed. A senior center at that site would need its own safe parking, and no space for that exists.
The EL does not have space for the number of covered parking spaces that a senior center requires. Senior centers in Edmond, Shawnee, and Midwest City have this. Norman should settle for nothing less. Further, parking for a senior center should include many spaces near the door, arranged “horizontally” relative to the building’s face. The vertical parking lot at the EL places only a few near the door and the rest increasingly more distant.
The senior center will need to bring in buses for group excursions. The configuration of the EL building and parking would make loading and unloading difficult at best, dangerous at worst.
The EL lacks space for kitchen facilities. The staff of the kitchen at the present senior center would like to move to the new senior center, and most people agree that the new center should house the kitchen.
Andrews Park Site Is Suitable
The possibility of placing the senior center in Andrews Park has also caused confusion. Many people think it would occupy park land that is already in use. No. It would occupy the area on the far east side of the park now wasted by old, unused water works and the soon-to-be-abandoned skate park.
City officials want to charge the removal of the old water works to the senior center budget. That abandoned structure will be removed, however, in the expansion of James Garner Boulevard. The public roads project should bear the expense.
The skate park will be moved to a nicer new facility at the other end of the park.
The senior center is administered by Norman Parks and Recreation, which also administers Andrews Park. Putting the center in the park would be both appropriate and efficient. The senior center could provide indoor space for certain park activities.
The Andrews Park site (AP) has enough space to build parking for both seniors and park goers. It allows for access for cars, buses, and delivery trucks.
Instead of being isolated among City employees and their customers, seniors at the AP would be across Acres Street from the new library. They could enjoy library programming and contribute to it.
A beautiful senior center at the “Gateway to Norman” on the expanded James Garner Boulevard would signal the City’s commitment to its retirees. It would enhance Norman’s attraction as a retirement destination. The retirement industry is in an early boom stage, so why are we talking about hiding our senior center in a second-hand building behind City offices?
And anyway, Norman’s seniors have already “paid it forward” for this city. It’s time to pay them back.
The 21st Century Norman Seniors Association
The group opposing the EL plan has garnered broad support among Norman seniors and voters of all ages. They are calling for a free-standing senior center near the site of the new library. Their Facebook page, Friends for a 21st Century Senior Center has 645 members. Their petition calling for a stand-alone senior center near the new central library collected 647 signatures.
In March 2016, they incorporated as an Oklahoma not-for-profit corporation under the name 21st Century Norman Seniors Association. They have 355 active members. Clearly a significant segment of Norman residents are supporting the call for a free-standing senior center.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF NORMAN SENIORS ASSOCIATION OPPOSES NEW BOND ELECTION
This organization was formed to secure a first-class stand-alone facility to house a senior center for the City of Norman.
The Mayor and City staff would then claim that our only option would be to move into the old library building.
The Board of Directors of the 21st Century Norman Seniors Association opposes the calling of a new bond election to fund our new building.
We are tired of being used and manipulated by the Mayor and City staff, and we ask for your support in persuading City Council to abandon the idea of a new bond election.
From Norman Transcript, November 14, 2016
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Norman should thank seniors by opening new, standalone senior center
Editor, The Transcript:
The planners for Norman Forward are to be commended. The Quality of Life projects are certainly important to our growing city. But at the same time, we should take time to reflect on Norman, backward though the years to the work accomplished by citizens who built our thriving community.
We need to show our appreciation to those citizens who got up every morning, went to work and paid their taxes to build roads, streets, schools, parks, a hospital and more that we use everyday. Many of those same people are retired, living in Norman, and they voted for Norman Forward with the expectation of a new senior center with space available to offer more activities than can be provided in the current center.
As Norman has grown, working people adapted to many changes in Norman, along with changes within their own families. Some lost spouses, family and friends, and with that, some lost badly needed contacts with people. A senior citizens’ center would be a perfect place to spend a few hours, meet new people, socialize and ward off depression which is prevalent in older citizens.
A forward-looking Norman should say thank you to earlier residents by opening the doors to a new standalone center and making an extreme effort to contact and invite people to take part in the activities. Also, for their health’s sake, we must motivate these citizens to make new friends and remain vibrant.
Since recreation is the primary reason for the Quality of Life NF projects for younger people, city planners should extend the same criteria to seniors. Seniors need to move, too. Many NF projects will be delayed for the next 15 years, but the NF senior citizens’ project should not be one of them.
Click the link to board member Dave Boeck's Norman Seniors Aging in Place survey. Your association would like to know what you think. To leave comments you must be logged in.
21st CENTURY NORMAN SENIORS ASSOCIATION TO MEET AT NORMAN DEPOT
NORMAN, OK October 27, 2016 – The 21st Norman Seniors Association will hold a meeting Saturday, November 5, 2016, from 10:00-11:00 a.m. at the Norman Depot, 200 S. Jones Avenue. Please join us for a good time and a cup of coffee.
. You'll have a chance to win gift certificates from the fabulous Benvenuti's and Volare, the new pizza place at Campus Corner. You'll see some new displays that will give you a greater understanding of the Association and the progress on plans for Norman’s new senior center.
If you are not yet an Association member, please come and join us. You can also join on the association’s website www.normanseniors.org. The group is open to Norman residents of all ages interested in advocating for seniors.
The website contains the group’s mission statement, temporary officers and board members, and other posts of interest to Norman seniors. You may also write to 21st Century Norman Seniors Association at PO Box 722082, Norman, OK 73072.
"You are invited to meet with Senior Citizens relative to the location for the New Senior Citizens Center and the Aging Services Kitchen as recommended by the Senior Citizens Center Ad Hoc Committee. We will also review suggested program Activities and provide an opportunity for more input. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, October 26th at 11:00am in the dining room at the Senior Center.
City of Norman Parks and Recreation
P.O. Box 370, Norman OK 73070
The Association urges you to attend this meeting. It is a chance to be face to face with city officials and express your point of view. If you have never visited the current Senior Center this would be a good opportunity to see why the Association is pushing for a brand new building!
Attend the benefit for the new Norman Police Department Care Trak program which aids police in finding persons lost due to dementia, autism, etc. Thursday, September 1, 2016, from 10 am - 4 pm.
Visit Main Street and have a great time for a great cause!
--That's September 1st from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.--