Senior services will continue in University Place.
The UP City Council approved a lease agreement Monday with Community Connection Place, a local nonprofit, to operate the city-owned senior center starting Jan. 1, 2017.
The decision means the senior center at 2534 Grandview Drive W. will remain open after city funding runs out.
The council voted 4-2 to approve the lease.
Council members Caroline Belleci and Steve Worthington voted against the agreement, listing concerns about long-term funding.
“I would hate for us to get into a lease and in six months, Community Connection Place and their major funder has a falling out. Then what do we do?” Belleci said.
“All the sudden, we’re the bad guys because we didn’t vet this organization and have to shut them down.”
Worthington supports the group and its intent, he said, but “I would like that next level of detail.”
Council members in favor of the arrangement said the lease protects the city and the need to continue services is more important.
“I don’t believe the organization is ready for this, but I appreciate them stepping forward,” Councilman Chris Nye said. “I am going to support it for the simple reason we don’t have a lot of options.”
Community Connection Place leadership said it plans to continue many current services offered at the senior center, including weekly card games and yoga classes.
It also hopes the center remains a site for senior foot care and weekly free meals from Catholic Community Services.
Two years ago, the UP Council voted to discontinue its recreation programs to partially fill a projected $1 million deficit for the 2017-18 biennium.
All city recreation programs, including youth sports and art and music classes, will stop at the end of the year.
Community Connection Place wants to address those needs by building a community center for youths to go to before and after school. The nonprofit’s vision includes offering programming for seniors and children.