The Johnson City Commission gets an opportunity to “sniff test” a detailed programming schedule for the new 67,000-square-foot Memorial Park Community Center tonight during a presentation of the plan.
Both the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and Senior Center Advisory Council are in unanimous agreement the plan is workable.
Of the total hours available for programming during the week, 260 hours have been set aside for parks and recreation use and 475 hours have been marked for senior use. That means seniors’ programing amounts to 64.6 percent of all use in the center with parks and recreation scheduling consuming 35.3 percent. Five hundred twenty-five hours remain open for future programing.
Save Our Senior Committee members and supporters of a dedicated “senior only” space at the new center have demonstrated on the Municipal & Safety Buildings front steps since a bid for that request was voted down by commissioners. That activity likely has run its course, and concerns about staffing and scheduling seem to have subsided. The SOC and other seniors appear to be happy with the new arrangement.
Jerry Paulsen, SOC chairman, said his take on the plan was “very positive.”
“We endorsed the schedule, and I think it’s very workable,” said Gary Lyon, Senior Center Advisory Council president-elect.
Lyon also gave a thumbs up to Roger Blakeley, the new Parks and Recreation Department director appointed by City Manager Pete Peterson in late October, saying Blakeley was “a breath of fresh air when it comes to dealing with seniors.”
Meanwhile, Tommy Burleson, the city’s construction agent, is expected to give an update which includes work at Fairmont Elementary School, Science Hill High School additions and renovations, the detention basin at Science Hill and the new community center, which remains on track for completion in April.
On Nov. 3, commissioners approved a proposal by Johnson City’s Thomas Weems Architect to evaluate and determine the feasibility of converting the existing Seniors’ Center for an alternative municipal use, specifically for use as the city’s Juvenile Court.
The commission will likely OK the proposed $16,000 contract with the firm tonight, which includes “basic services” and carries the agreement through the schematic design phase and budget estimate. The study, which will include proposed programming of the court’s needs, is expected to take about nine weeks once notice to proceed is given.
Commissioners also will consider the 2012 legislative agenda, which is a compilation of priorities for the upcoming year. The changes from the previous year are minimal and include Basic Education Program formula transparency, tougher drug laws, airport funding and development and Interstate 81/26 reconstruction.