Now that the Norman City Council has identified Reaves Park as the location of the new senior citizens center, it's time for the city to spend some time figuring out exactly what our community wants that center to look like.
To our knowledge, there's never been a comprehensive study performed or survey taken of both current seniors and local residents who will be seniors in the next 5-10 years. What programs does the city plan to provide at the center? What will the facility look like? What agencies, organizations and nonprofits will the city partner with?
There's been a vocal group of senior citizens driving the new senior center, and they've done a great job of keeping the issue from being shoved to the back burner. That advocacy has been vital to advancing the senior center. With completion date of summer/fall 2021, the city will need to move quickly to get input from key stakeholders before designs begin to take shape.
While placing the center at Reaves Park will provide some limitations, the city has an excellent opportunity to build a center that's truly unique, one that encourages senior citizens who don't actively engage with the community and each other to do so, and one that incentivizes individuals to retire in Norman. It could have a significant economic impact, but only if the city takes the necessary time to figure out the senior center's mission and how best to complete that mission. We're excited to see what conversations the city has with our community, and what plans come out of those discussions.
We have a great opportunity to build something that will serve our community for years to come. Let's be sure we do it right.