Plans are currently being drawn to turn the Storm Lake Golf Course clubhouse into the community's new Senior Citizens Center. If all goes well, the seniors could be able to move into the site shortly after the first of the year.
Omaha conceptual architects BCDM, the same firm that created the original designs for Project AWAYSIS and its lodge hotel next door to the clubhouse, is designing the plans for the Senior Center.
The plans, along with a preliminary cost estimate, should be complete within the next couple of weeks, according to City Administrator Patti Moore.
Bids would then be arranged to begin the work.
The senior citizens were promised a new location as part of the wave of AWAYSIS developments, but that project had to be put on a back burner for a while, as previous proposed locations in the form of a new building in the area of the campground, and later a new building on the site of the vacant water plant in Sunset Park proved unworkable.
The seniors' committee owns the site of the current Center downtown, but with limited funds and the costs of maintaining the old building high, they could not afford to continue operating in the longterm. The site provides the Dinner Date program, considered an important nutrition and social program for the city's elderly population.
"I think they are pretty excited about the coming change," Moore said. "There have been a lot of maintenance and parking concerns with their present site. We think the golf course will be ideal, and we are excited for them."
The clubhouse interior will be fitted with an office for the Senior Center director, storage and lockable areas - so that it can continue to be used at other times for community events and rentals for family reunions and wedding reception-type events.
The building received a heavy makeover in the recent past, and is already considered disability accessible. It has a food service area and can be arranged for dining easily.
A project to add an accessible entry and restrooms in the pro shop side of the building were already planned and will be incorporated as part of the senior center project. A new adjacent paved parking area will eliminate problems the seniors have had finding nearby parking spots on Erie Street.