Senior Center remains a hub of activity
Last updated 7/18/2019 at Noon
Whispers that the 1-year-old Mill Creek Senior Center would be closing by the end of the month have been denied by managers of the program and many of the regulars who frequent the facility.
The senior center opened in its new space in the lobby of the Vintage at Mill Creek adult community last year as part of the city’s long-range plan for The Farm and other developments in the East Gateway Urban Village on the eastern border of the city. Vintage at Mill Creek was the first element in a scope of housing elements planned as part of The Farm.
Many of the regular patrons at the center have voiced a sense of despair.
“There was a men’s group that met regularly, but they have either stopped meeting or moved to another location,” said Eli Hayon, who has been a regular at the center. “My wife (Jackie) told me that the women are meeting in private homes and at Emory’s (restaurant) because nobody shows up at the center anymore.”
Hayon explained that attendance has continued to decline since the center was relocated from a space it occupied for 20 years near City Hall.
“The rationale for the move is particularly odd, given the rapid growth in downtown Mill Creek and the Town Center.”
He also said seniors have been forced to exit the building and reenter through the parking lot to access a bathroom.
“There are some real shenanigans going on,” said one resident of the Vintage. “We had a scheduled meeting of our men’s group, but nobody showed up. The place was empty.”
Brooke Knight, executive director of the Northshore Senior Center who oversees the senior programs from her office in Shoreline, denied any concerns with the future of the Mill Creek senior center, adding she has “programs and activities” planned throughout the summer and for the rest of the year.
One possible source for the rumors was the departure of longtime program director Terry Schuler. Phone calls to the center went unanswered for several days after her unexplained exit this spring. Darla Richards has assumed the duties of program manager.
“I have no idea why somebody would start a rumor like that,” said Richards. “We have people here every day who depend on the center for socializing and for access to public services.
“Those rumors are just wrong.”
One regular visitor to the center named George said he was curious about the changes in the office at the senior center. He said he was told that if he really wanted to know what was going on, he should go home and read The Beacon.