norman seniors association
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the 21st Century Norman Seniors Association has cancelled its business meeting scheduled for Saturday, August 27, 2016, from 3:30 - 4:30 pm in the Lowry Room of the Norman Central Library. The meeting will be rescheduled and members will be notified of the new date, time, and location.
The 21st Century Norman Seniors Association is a 501(C)(4) political advocacy non-profit organization with over 350 members.
The 21st Century Norman Seniors Association at its board meeting August 10, 2016, approved two resolutions. The first resolution, which supports the city in its efforts to pass a stormwater utility August 23, 3016 states:
The Board of Directors of the 21st Century Norman Seniors Association supports clean water for Norman, and after due consideration of the effects of the measure on the lives of Norman seniors, urges support for the August 23, 2016 vote for storm water.
The second resolution addresses the recent vote by the Norman City Council in regard to a new senior center and shows appreciation for the council’s decision on a stand-alone center:
The 21st Century Norman Seniors Association appreciates the support for a stand-alone Senior Center shown by the passage of the Norman City Council Resolution of August 9, 2016. While we recognize the difficulty in defining the exact funding source, we look for a speedy resolution of funding questions in order for the planning and construction of a stand-alone senior center to proceed as quickly as possible.
The Association also scheduled the business meeting for members for Saturday, August 27, 2016, 3:30-4:30 p.m., at the Norman Central Library Lowry Room. In addition to discussion of recent Association activities and news, committees will present their reports to the general membership.
The 21st C. Norman Seniors Association is a 501 (c) (4) organization with over 350 members. The group is open to all Norman residents of all ages interested in advocating for seniors. You can join on the association’s website www.normanseniors.org.
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 the 21st Century Norman Seniors Association at PO Box 722082, Norman, OK 73072.
Today's editorial in the Norman Transcript suggests that it's time to move forward with the Senior Center. Our Association could not agree more! Very much worth reading.
Jim Jinkins, President21st Century Norman Seniors Association
The Norman City Council will have a study session this Tuesday, July 26th, prior to their regular meeting. One item on their study session agenda is discussion regarding the Senior Citizens Center Site Location Report prepared by city staff. The agenda does not list the specifics of the report, but I believe we should have a presence at the study session to review the report. This is an initial but important step in the decision making process. Today’s Norman Transcript’s “Our View” (editorial board) urges the City Council to make a decision concerning the fate of the proposed Senior Center and states “It is time for some real leadership.” Please attend this study session if you are available.
The study session will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building Conference Room, which is the building with the clock tower facing Gray Street. The official address is 201 W. Gray. The conference room is located next to the Council chambers. Parking is available in the lot facing Gray Street, west of the Post Office. There is also parking north east of the building adjacent to the police station parking.
The regular City Council meeting agenda for this Tuesday does not have the site report listed as an agenda item. Therefore, please mark your calendar for the next scheduled council meeting on Tuesday, August 9th at 6:30 P.M. There should be discussion of the report and other information pertaining to the Senior Center.
Check back at normanseniors.org for updates. Thank you for your continued support and interest!
Jim Jinkins, President
21st Century Seniors Association
NEWS FROM THE PRESIDENT
For many weeks past board members and others have been going to city council and Norman Forward meetings, attempting to learn the status of the new senior center. Since early June, the city staff list of Norman Forward projects has included the senior center on the list with no dates, assigned funding, or any other information, unlike the other projects. We have spoken one on one with many council people and others connected to Norman Forward. There seems to be an undercurrent running through city hall to create a center “on the cheap” by using, once again, an old library totally unsuitable in location or parking. Is this bait and switch? When Norman Forward was proposed we were shown in the Norman Transcript a beautiful library with an adjacent free standing senior center. We were asked to support Norman Forward and we worked for its passage. Now we’re being passed over? If you want a new freestanding center, you need to write your council person, chamber acquaintances, city staff, or anyone else you know who can work to obtain this for the 30,000 Norman seniors who deserve it.
Partially as a result of numerous Facebook comments this week, Joy Hampton of the Norman Transcript investigated and wrote a report on this topic which appears in today’s paper, front page. We urge you to read it. It contains responses from each council person and each agrees to a freestanding senior center, but wonders how it will be managed financially. We are grateful to Joy for this effort to put the problem directly in the public eye.
Now that we have a new Mayor and several new council members, I think we all should become more active in connecting with the city council and voicing our concerns and opinions to our own council person.
If you click on this url, http://www.normanok.gov/cityclerk/city-council, you will arrive on the Norman City web page which gives you all kinds of information about city government. You will find an email address for your council person and we urge you to make good use of it. If you are unsure what ward you are in, the upper right hand corner contains a link to the city ward map.
While you’re at it, send us by return mail your name and ward number, so we can arrange meet-ups by wards in the future.
While you’re at it, send us by return mail your name and ward number, so we can arrange meet-ups by wards in the future.
While you can go to http://www.normanok.gov/calendar to find out what is on the city calendar, you can contact Ellen Usry directly to get a copy of the city council agenda for each meeting sent to you ( Ellen.Usry@normanok.gov ). This is especially important as we need to be present whenever the proposed new senior center is being discussed by the council. It is also very desirable for us to be present at any committee/board meetings of Norman Forward that address the senior center.
In addition, this is the right time to begin our Norman Transcript Letter to the Editor campaign for the new senior center. If you talk to or write your city council person and get a response, please report the results in a letter to the editor. If you notice good moves on the part of city council/staff people that benefit seniors, please write a letter in praise of that. We need to let city officials know that we are not passive observers of their actions. If you have ideas and opinions on the funding of the new senior center please share them. http://www.normantranscript.com/opinion/ will get you to the right page, but you’ll have to scroll through some ads to reach the right button for letters to the editor.
We also urge you to post information you get from city council and staff onto the Facebook page, Friends for a 21stCentury Senior Citizens Center, and on your own FB page as well. We need to inform as many people as possible of any news concerning the senior center.
Don’t forget, you have until July 15th to sign up for a committee position if you haven’t already done so. I’m looking forward to our committee meetings later this month and our general membership meeting in August.
Remember, strength in numbers—together we’ll make a change in Norman.
Jim Jinkins, President
LETTER FROM ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT: STORM WATER INITIATIVE
"The current proposed fee rate will have the smaller residential dwellings paying a higher disproportionate rate."
To our membership: A very important issue is moving forward in City Council concerning a proposed Storm Water Master fee structure. In my opinion, Mayor Rosenthal has tried to rush this process with just a few weeks of meetings that result in many revised, confusing rate proposals. All in order to get this on an August ballot. Many have asked council to slow down the process in order to deliver a simple and fair proposal for the citizens to consider in a city wide vote later. Mayor, et al have used various tactics to scare folks - impending federal madates and fines for non-compliance that will greatly affect the general fund. Remember, council has discussed those mandates and fines for a long period of time, but we must take action NOW!! Who dropped the ball? I urge all of you to get informed on this issue (if you aren't), read Joy Hampton's excellent articles, the most recent in today's Norman Transcript (Friday, June 3rd). The current proposed fee rate will have the smaller residential dwellings paying a higher disproportionate rate. Council is poised to vote on this rate structure next Tuesday, June 7th, in order to place the proposal on an August ballot. Please contact the mayor and city council to voice your concerns, and ask they postpone this until a fair and simple rate is reached. You can contact them via email, according to their ward. Example: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are not sure of your councilperson, you can look up your ward on the city of Norman's website: www.normanok.gov
Contact all councilmembers if you have time.
STORM WATER INITIATIVE SURVEY
Please tell us your opinion on the storm water initiative now before the city council. Click the link below to take the very short survey.
Storm Water Survey
Aging Services will hold their 6th annual Mid Summer Frolic from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm at McFarlin United Methodist Church on Friday, July 22, 2016.
This will be an enjoyable morning of fun activities and a special lunch. If you have not yet made a reservation, please call Kathleen Wilson’s office at Aging Services, 321-3200. They welcome all Norman Seniors Association members to attend.
McFarlin United Methodist Church is located at 420 S. University Avenue.
NEW NORMAN SENIORS GROUP BUILDING MEMBERSHIP--ANNOUNCE MEETING
NORMAN, OK MAY 31, 2016—Membership is climbing for the 21st Century Norman Seniors Association as they conclude the first month of a two month campaign for new members. “We’re up over 200 now, and with June to go, we’re hoping to add significant numbers to our ranks,” commented Jim Jinkins, association president. “The more members we have, the better we can serve the Norman community.”
The month of May was capped by a new member drawing for a $25.00 luncheon gift certificate to Midway Grocery and Deli. The happy winner is Carlos Gonzales of Norman.
The association will hold a Koffee Klatch for its members at the Norman Depot Saturday morning, June 25, 2016, from 9:30 – 10:30 am. Board members will present information on current activities and plans and encourage members to sign up for various committees to work on throughout the summer.
June venues for the 21st C. Norman Seniors Association membership drive include Sam’s Club, Dick’s Flea Market at the County Fairgrounds and a repeat performance at 2nd Friday Art Walk in downtown Norman.
You can also join on the association’s website www.normanseniors.org. The group is open to Normanites of all ages who are interesting 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.
Norman residents, join 21st Century Norman Seniors Association! We are in the middle of a membership drive and we seek seniors and their family members who are interested in senior issues. There are no dues or age restrictions.
We plan to advocate for Norman seniors on local issues and want to have a positive effect in building an inclusive community for Norman. We have no political, religious, or social affiliation. Currently we have over 270 members.
“We saw a need for this kind of group several months ago,” says Jim Jinkins, president of the association. “Working together seniors can create change that will benefit everyone. We welcome members of any age who are interested in improving life for seniors in Norman.”
At this point we have a temporary board and slate of officers, but with an enlarged membership, plan to hold elections in the fall. We founders have been deeply interested in the Norman Forward plans for a new senior center and will continue to be involved in this as time goes on. However, long term we want to serve as a purposeful voice for seniors, networking with other groups for the larger good. WE want to promote Norman as an attractive retirement destination.
You may run into us at different locations in Norman this month as we look for new members. Stop and talk with us for more information. Click the Join tab above to join the group. You may also write to the group at PO Box 722082, Norman, OK 73072.
We plan to hold a meeting in June for members to socialize and discuss future plans. “You never know what good you can accomplish until you meet with like-minded people, set goals, and use your knowledge and influence to improve you own city,” said Jinkins. “Seniors have deep knowledge and rich experience, and are a resource Norman needs.” Join us and enrich your own life by working together and building new friendships through the 21st Century Norman Seniors Association.
At first glance, putting a senior center in the current central library building (known as the EL, for “Existing Location”) 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.
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 new library site. Their Facebook page, Friends for a 21st Century Senior Center has 590 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. Nearly 200 people have already joined. A significant segment of Norman residents are supporting the call for a free-standing senior center.
Funding options have caused some confusion. Didn’t Norman voters approve millions of dollars for a senior center in 2008? Isn’t that money still available?
Yes and no. In 2008, voters authorized the City to sell bonds to raise $11.2 million to renovate City buildings. That renovation would include space for a senior center in the EL. But voters rejected the plan to build a new library, so the EL space is still not available for a senior center.
City officials are still authorized to raise that bond money to renovate the EL. They never intended to spend the entire $11.2 million on the senior center. Today, they are talking about spending $4.2 million of that money to renovate part of the central library building for a senior center. The rest of the space would go to City offices.
That $4.2 million is not waiting in an account somewhere. The City won’t have the money unless it sells the bonds. Eventually, the City would have to buy back the bonds with interest. Property taxes would fund that. Property owners would pay for renovating the EL into a senior center that seniors do not want.
Last October, voters approved Norman Forward with a new senior center. Norman Forward will be funded by sales taxes, but City officials have consistently left the senior center out of their Norman Forward budget. Voters clearly approved the senior center as part of Norman Forward, but the City persists in leaving it out of the budget.
Norman's seniors make up about 15% of our population, but a first-class, free-standing senior center will take only about 4% of Norman Forward funds.
What’s wrong with putting the new senior center in the current central library building (the EL)? In short, a senior center in that location could never be first class.
The senior center would be the odd duck on a municipal administrative campus. Seniors and City staff would share a 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. 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 limping toward the senior center?
The City already has a parking problem, and the EL would need more parking spaces. North of the site is Andrews park and no room for more parking. West of the site there is already one City lot, connected to commercial zoning. Adding more parking to the north would have negative effects on a really nice residential neighborhood.
The areas to the south and east are already fully developed. The parking problem cannot be solved.
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.
The senior center will need to bring in buses for group excursions. But 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. City officials claim that the kitchen staff in the current decrepit senior center do not wish to move, but members of that kitchen staff have said otherwise to representatives of 21st Century Norman Seniors. The idea of feeding lunch to seniors at the EL but preparing the food at the current site is ridiculous.
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 for good purposes. No. It would occupy the area on the far east side of the park now occupied by old, unused water works. That area is now going to waste.
City officials have threatened to charge the removal of the old water works to the senior center budget. But the old structures will be removed anyway in the expansion of James Garner Boulevard. That public roads project should bear the expense.
The senior center is administered by Norman Parks and Recreation, so putting it at Andrews Park would be appropriate and efficient.
The AP site has enough space for 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. The senior center could provide indoor space for certain park activities.
The skate park would not have to move. Seniors and skaters could benefit from interacting with each other. The AP location would foster intergenerational experiences to enhance the quality of life for the entire Norman community.
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.
Susan A. Miller