Astoria has transferred ownership of the Astoria Senior Center on 11th and Exchange streets to seniors five years after an $1.8 million renovation.
The city secured a community development block grant in 2014 to renovate the dilapidated senior center with a new commercial kitchen, LED lighting, roof, windows, heating, ventilation and air conditioning. After the renovation, the city began a lease with Astoria Senior Center Inc. that would increase the group’s financial responsibility for the building over five years.
The agreement expired in December, and the group voiced its intent to take over the building. The senior center must remain in the same use in perpetuity or be transferred back to the city.
“I think this is the culmination of a lot of hard work on everybody’s part,” City Councilor Tom Brownson said. “I think it’s one thing the city has been able to do to help our senior citizens have a really nice facility to operate in.”
John Ryan, a Mill Pond resident and president of the board of the senior center, said the renovated center is performing well, with a maintenance fund established from user fees that has helped buy new items such as an emergency generator. The center has more than 400 members.
“It has been a great benefit to the seniors in the community to know they have some place they know they can go to,” Ryan said. “We do a lot of medical things for the seniors and keep them up.”
Larry Miller, the senior center’s executive director, said the transfer is the culmination of nine years of work with the city. The senior center continues to provide services such as wheelchairs and walkers to members, he said, despite the center closing to the public during the coronavirus pandemic. The building has also been offered up to Clatsop County as a coronavirus vaccination site.
“I have three retired nurses in the facility who are members who have also volunteered to assist if it should happen,” Miller said. “So, the county knows we’re here, and we’re willing to make it available to them.”