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Sale of senior center concerns Grandview's older residents

GRANDVIEW - "You won't lose your services," Grandview Mayor Norm Childress assured the numerous senior citizens who showed up for a public hearing during Monday's City Council meeting.

The public hearing, required by state statute according to City Administrator Scott Staples, was held to discuss the sale of the Carl L. Stevens Senior Center. Yakima Valley Community College will be purchasing the building after last night's approval from the Grandview City Council members.

The building is city property but sits on the Grandview YVCC campus property. It was scheduled to become property of the college in 2038 at no expense. The college, however, is in need of the added space.

Discussions began more than a year ago between the city of Grandview and Yakima Valley Community College. The college agreed to have the senior center appraised, according to Staples.

It was appraised at a value of $360,000 and the state approved that price for purchase.

"We (the city of Grandview) felt a need to talk with the American Legion," said Staples, saying all parties using the facility were provided the facts and asked for input.

The city assured the American Legion, who leases the building, and the senior advisory committee that all use of the senior center would be honored by the college if it were to purchase the facility.

Staples told those attending the public hearing all senior programs would continue.

He said the funds secured from the purchase would be placed in a separate account for later use in securing a new facility.

Yakima Valley Community College Dean Bryce Humpherys also spoke to the large crowd, stating the college needs the facility to expand its programs.

He read a letter from YVCC President Linda Kaminski. That letter expressed further the need to utilize the senior center building for programs at the Grandview campus.

She believes the building would serve a variety of functions, including serving as a large classroom.

"We would like to help with the transition of services and programs," Kaminski said in the letter.

Don Thomas, a citizen of Grandview, was concerned as to where seniors would go once the senior center is purchased.

Staples said seniors would continue using the center until another facility was established.

"I am hearing there will be a new building out in the boondocks," said Thomas referring to the city's exploration of utilizing space at Grandview's Country Park facility to erect a new community center.

"We haven't finalized plans yet...tonight's purpose is to approve the sale of the current senior center," Childress said.

Whatever plans are made, said Staples, all services will continue and any new facility could be used to serve the greater needs of the community in addition to seniors.

Freita Keelin weighed in, advising the council that seniors want to have a facility in town. She wanted the council to know the building needs to be easily accessed.

Staples and Childress both reasserted the agenda item of the evening was the sale of the senior center, and the city doesn't foresee another facility being established for at least two more years.

After hearing from the public, the City Council approved the resolution to sell the Carl L. Stevens Senior Center to Yakima Valley Community College.

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