Eastgate Seniors Say They Want Their Own Place

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Members of the Eastgate Seniors said they want to keep their own place rather than be merged into the various center recreation centers.

Connie Griggs also told the City Council they were concerned "we are not getting any empathy" from the council or city officials on losing the Eastgate site.

Brent Goldberg, city CEO, said Eastgate officials notified the city on June 4 that it would have to start paying $11,097 in monthly rent to keep space at Eastgate. That is in addition to the $4,400 the city now pays for utilities.

The lease runs out at the end of this month.

Mr. Goldberg also said that Eastgate officials continually call to say that the seniors are too noisy.

Ms. Griggs said a temporary spot identified by the city is inadequate.

She said the seniors who attend the city are not just from District 6, but come from all over. She said there were over 9,000 attendees in a three-month period.

Ms. Griggs agreed that the current location with 14,796 square feet is inadequate.

She said the group formerly had additional space that is now occupied by Allied Health. She said the noise complaints come from that group.

Joe Gibson, another leader of the seniors, said, "It seems like they're throwing us away and no one cares about us."

Mr. Goldberg said a new Brainerd community center was approved in the recent capital projects, but he said design has not started. He said it was planned to include a section for seniors.

He said Lurone Jennings, who heads Youth and Family Development, wants to have senior programs in all the rec centers.

Ms. Griggs said seniors do not want to be where younger people are running around. She said that would upset some members of the older group.

Councilman Moses Freeman said he also has doubts about the seniors being merged into the centers, and he said there is an outstanding senior program at Eastgate. But he and others said it appears the Eastgate management no longer wants the group around.

He and other council members urged all those involved to get together to try to work out a workable solution.

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