Jul 28 2013

What Happened to the Senior Program Planned at the Arts Center?

Some months ago, the Piedmont Recreation Department staff recommended use of the East Wing of the Arts Center as a childcare facility.  After protest by community members and the Arts Center, the City Council directed staff to meet with the Arts Center leaders to determine how the City and Center could resolve issues surrounding the use of the East Wing. Negotiations broke down when the City’s requirements for expensive changes and new costs exceeded the Center’s abilities.

Piedmont citizens have voiced concern that the Recreation Department lacks sufficient programs for adults. The senior activity program proposed by the Art Center was a twice weekly mid-day activity.

During a public meeting, residents testified that after raising families and residing in Piedmont for decades, many miss seeing familiar faces and friends on a regular basis.  The potential for using the room at the Center for activities such as travel programs, board games, computers, literature, book reviews, exercise, arts, and leisure was welcomed by seniors and adults.

Piedmonters have questioned, “Why isn’t there a place for seniors to gather on a regular basis in Piedmont?”  “With all of the activities planned for children by the City, adults who have long supported Piedmont through taxes and donations, should be given  greater consideration.” Others have mentioned that there are already childcare facilities established by the City, while there is no on-going facility for adults to gather.

Further public consideration of the Arts Center East Wing use has yet to be scheduled on a Council agenda.


6 Responses to “What Happened to the Senior Program Planned at the Arts Center?”

  1. The staff report presented pretty fixed numbers of children served by day care at Piedmont Center for the Arts – 16 to 20. It would be interesting to have a trial run of a drop-in, multi-use senior center at Piedmont Center for the Arts with more access and programming than currently provided by the Rec Department program to see how well used such a program would be. As evidenced by the current use of the space, the Arts Center has brought a diverse set of activities to this community that are well attended.

  2. I don’t think a drop-in kind of activity for “Seniors” — and this label is a moving target, would result in a large turnout. But I think if there were a couple of scheduled weekly or monthly classes (writing workshop, play readings) or discussion groups (current affairs, book group), or specific clubs (movie club, Toastmasters) — this would result in a dedicated group of attendees.

  3. For what would Seniors be dropping in, to see old familiar faces? That sounds absurd. However, if I knew of a group regularly meeting for a book discussion, or other intellectually stimulating activity, I would love to attend.
    Drop in? I don’t think so.

  4. I would support a combination of both scheduled Senior activities and an open-period where people can just drop in to chat. If the later had little or no response, then it can be terminated.

    Staff’s bias toward creating another DayCare facility to the exclusion of Adult use has been quite evident. When directed by Council to explore Adult and Senior options, Staff should do so rather than create further impediments. Council will now have to be more direct in having Staff comply with Council direction.

  5. Council has received extensive public comments over the years for a place in town for “seniors to gather”. And the recent discussion about the use of PCA east wing did raise the point that there are multiple day-care options in town but few options for seniors/adults/retirees/teens. Whether those activities are drop-in or scheduled is secondary to the need for a dedicated space and time for adult Piedmonters to congregate. To commentators above, has the senior group that meets routinely in the Community Center not met your needs?

  6. The group to which Garrett refers above meets once a month … hardly “routinely.”

    I don’t know if that is by their choice, budgetary constraints or space availability.

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