HOORAY!! The afternoon meeting was extremely important yesterday. After 7 months of dragging the Senior Center horse out of the barn, I finally got a commitment from Council to go ahead with the establishment of a stand alone Senior Center. The center will be constructed with the Summit over in Grand Prairie, as an example. But Arlington should communicate and find out the pitfalls and attributes of their success. The construction and programming will be dedicated to active seniors of 50 years or older. The importance of this decision by Council is that it will not be competing with a Multi- Generational facility, for funding or getting lost in the operation of a larger recreation center. In this operation seniors come first! I want to thank Alva Roy and her Age Friendly Arlington group that has supported this idea since their formulation in November of 2014. There is strength in numbers and although our seniors are polite and respectful of the process their diligence and presence was noticed and appreciated by Council. This is a big win for Arlington. We currently have 54,000 seniors capable of using this facility in Arlington, and more baby boomers become eligible everyday. It is about time that we filled this void in our city services. My hat is off to my colleagues on Council and Parks and Recreation for their tolerance of my actions in pursuit of this project.
Now comes the task of funding these projects. It was discussed that since the Senior Center and the Multi-Generational facility are now on the Master Parks Plan, and we will not have another bond election for about five more years, this can be funded by an election to increase sales tax by 1/8th or 1/4 cent. The tax would amount to 6.9 million or 13.8 million per year respectively. The money would go into an Economic Development Corporation with a board comprised of citizens to make the proper expenditure decisions. With a 1/4 cent increase, the Senior Center could be paid off in two years. The funding avenue decision could be made as soon as next week during the budget meeting. When the time comes we will call for the item to be put on the November 2015 ballot election. Then the people can make the final decision.