By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.
It looks like the City of Mill Creek isn’t getting everything it wanted at the new Vintage at Mill Creek senior apartment community in East Gateway Urban Village, but the new Mill Creek Senior Center will have more space and amenities than it has now.
At the November 14, 2017, city council meeting, Mill Creek Senior Center Program Manager Terry Schuler expressed her concern that the Mill Creek Senior Center’s new digs in the Vintage at Mill Creek apartment community wouldn’t adequately support all of her classes and events.
She said that her November 13th tour of the new facility’s space showed it wasn’t large enough to support current senior center classes such as yoga, line dancing, and tai chi. She also expressed disappointment that senior center members would not be given access to residential amenities such as the community kitchen and media room.
Mill Creek City Manager Rebecca Polizzotto said she was very surprised with Schuler’s statement and explained the Northshore Senior Center Board of Directors was negotiating directly with the developer on Mill Creek Senior Center’s details and that the city had not been involved. She told the city council she would check into the situation.
New Northshore Senior Center Senior Center Director Brooke Knight, who’s organization runs the Mill Creek Senior Center, was optimistic regarding the negotiations.
In a November 15th email Knight said, “There are still some logistical details we need to work out to make sure the new senior center will be able to offer the same services and support people rely on, but we’re hopeful we can do that quickly and get on to the business of doing the work we care so much about.”
Knight, a Northshore Senior Center board member, and city staff subsequently met with Vintage Housing President Ryan Patterson to hammer out an agreement for moving forward.
Knight announced an agreement had been achieved in a December 27th email stating the following:
“We’re excited to have worked out the final details for our new Mill Creek Senior Center and are busy planning our Grand Opening scheduled for April 12th.”
“We could not be more grateful for all of the support we’ve received from the City of Mill Creek to make this possible, including allocating some additional space to the senior center to help facilitate our programming needs and the increased demand for services we anticipate.”
“And, our partners at Vintage have been wonderful to work with and are going above and beyond to make the space warm and welcoming for older adults in our community.”
A document given to the Mill Creek City Council in their January 23rd city council meeting packet gives additional details regarding the new senior center.
According to the document, Vintage Housing is providing $200,000 of tenant improvements at no cost to the Mill Creek Senior Center. These improvements include a full kitchen, a dining space, a versatile classroom space, a computer room, a social worker’s office, a manager’s office, a bookkeeper’s office, and a reception area.
During the negotiations the city agreed to give up the planned satellite police office, which was to be located in the Vintage of Mill Creek apartment community.
The city council document stated, “As part of that discussion and further demonstrating its commitment to the Senior Center, the City relinquished 500 square feet of space that would have been a new Police precinct. The space will now serve as a bonus room for the Senior Center and includes an additional sink/counter area.”
When asked about this change to the development agreement Mill Creek Director of Communication and Marketing Joni Kirk emailed, “We are not yet to a point of developing the plan for the Police Satellite Office, so we don’t have additional detail.”
She denied that the development agreement agreed to by the city council in October 2015 had actually changed.
Knight and Schuler are now both very optimistic about the future for the Mill Creek Senior Center.
During an informal January 23rd Vintage at Mill Creek meeting Schuler said senior center programming will continue as before and she was hopeful the senior center could use space at City Hall North for large classes such as line dancing and yoga.
At the January 23rd Mill Creek City Council meeting Knight said, “With the new facility in Vintage at Mill Creek, we’re excited to have a space that will be warm and welcoming for seniors. It will allow us to serve more individuals and also allow us to make sure that all of the people walking through our door are adequately getting their needs met.”
Vintage at Mill Creek Parking Managment Plan. Image courtesy of City of Mill Creek.