Creative idea led to new Senior Center

City worked with private developer to turn dream into a reality
By Dan Aznoff | May 17, 2018
Photo by: Dan Aznoff Mill Creek Mayor Pam Pruitt shared a symbolic handshake with John Dolan, the vice president of the Northshore Senior Center Board of Directors on the success of the joint venture that resulted in the new Mill Creek Senior Center in the first floor lobby of Vantage at Mill Creek, a senior residential community on 133nd St SE. The center was created through a partnership between the city, the project’s developer and FPI Management, the company contracted to manage the two-story facility.

It took almost 10 years and some innovative ideas from city officials in Mill Creek to find a way to take the vision of a Senior Center from a single room into a shiny 2,500 square foot facility on the first floor lobby of Vintage at Mill Creek.

The city first explored ideas to provide a facility where seniors could gather in their own space in 2009. The request for $2 million to build a freestanding structure during an economic down did not make it past the idea stage.

But the financial roadblock did not deter the true believers.

“The city never stopped exploring options for a Senior Center to serve our most cherished residents,” Barbara Heidel told The Beacon. The community activist was a concerned citizen when the process began. Now she is a proud member of the senior community.

Heidel was one of almost 100 seniors who gathered with city officials at the official Grand Opening of the Mill Creek Senior Center on the morning of Thursday, May 14, on the first floor of the new Vintage senior community at 4111 133rd St. SE.

“This beautiful Senior Center is the culmination of ideas from citizens and city staff and a lot of very hard work,” Mayor Pam Pruitt said. “There was a financial reality that nobody could solve until City Manager Rebecca Polizzotto proposed working with the developer who wanted to open an adult living community in Mill Creek.”

The mayor said the developer, Ryan Patterson, was so enthusiastic about the idea that he contributed $200,000 of his own money to install the computer room, kitchen and offices for the Mill Creek Senior Center.

Randy Bush, the president of the Northshore Senior Center Board of Directors, explained that Vantage and FPI have signed 20-year agreements to host the senior center on the adult residential facility.

“Working together, the city and Vantage never strayed from our mission to serve the senior population,” Pruitt told The Beacon.

Pruitt explained that Polizzotto proposed of a mixed-use development to the Vantage Corporation and FPI Management, the company contracted to operate the senior community. Vantage accepted the concept and has incorporated similar multi-use facilities at many of its senior residential communities across the county, according to Joni Kirk, the city’s director of Communications and Marketing.

With financial restraints and limited sources of tax revenue in today’s economy, Kirk said the Vantage property could very well be an indicator of future developments to serve the residents of Mill Creek.

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