Owensboro officials are looking to build a new Senior Community Center of Owensboro-Daviess County while the existing one gets rehabilitated or possibly demolished.

City officials sent out a request for proposals Monday for the rehabilitation of the senior center, at 1650 W. Second St., and the construction of a new one.

The RFP provided a list of preferred specifications for the new senior center, which included a 37,500-square-foot maximum limit with a walking track, an activity area, kitchen space and office space.

A community services survey was also attached to the RFP, highlighting programs and activities community members would like to see in the design of the new facility.

Dana Peveler, the senior center’s executive director, said the current facility, used since 1982, is outdated. It hosts from 500 to 600 people a week.

“It’s not as functional for a senior center as a new one is designed to be,” she said. “And we’ve outgrown it.”

For example, the current auditorium holds about 150 people. Peveler envisions the auditorium in the new center will hold nearly 500 people with movable walls to change the capacity.

In addition to building a new senior center, the awarded developer must show how their proposed rehabilitation for the current existing senior center provides a “positive economic impact” for the community, according to the RFP.

The RFP mentioned the city will consider proposals to demolish the existing senior center, but the proposer will need to define the proposed development or use for the site, even if the plan does not include constructing another building.

Peveler said some senior residents hope the building is not demolished, “Because they’ve emotionally attached to it.”

The efforts to rehab the current senior center and the construction of a new one will be part of the Northwest Revitalization Strategy Area, which is set to be approved in May and go into effect in July according to the RFP.

Abby Shelton, director of Community Development, said the new revitalization strategy area will consist of a five-year consolidated plan with an annual action plan each year.

Shelton said the plan will describe projects in the area, including homeowner exterior rehab, beautification and affordable housing.

Shelton said the rehab of the existing senior center and building of a new one is a standalone project separate from the overall revitalization efforts, but it being in the area is a bonus.

The senior center is located in an Opportunity Zone, which is a federal designation that allows for certain investments in lower-income areas to have tax advantages, such as exemption from capital gains tax.

“There’s a lot of different ways to approach the project but we are leaving it up to the experts and developers that know best how to marry up those spots,” Shelton said.

The city has already implemented revitalization efforts in other areas, including the Triplett Twist District, the Mechanicsville Neighborhood, the Old Germantown District and the Baptist Town Neighborhood.

Although the RFP calls for the rehab of the current Senior Community Center of Owensboro-Daviess County, Shelton said it was possible the developers could transform the current existing center into something else, such as housing. Housing survey results from last month were also attached to the RFP.

“It’s the developers that will be putting their money into the project so we can hope and we can anticipate that we’ll get more affordable housing stock out of that older senior center location, but we will for sure hopefully have a new senior center,” Shelton said.

The current senior center was constructed in the 1930s as an elementary school, Peveler said.

If a developer is awarded the contract, it will be that firm’s responsibility for the funding to pay for both phases of the project, Owensboro Purchasing Agent Kayln Fox in an email.

The city will consider selling the property to the developer, Fox added.

Responses to the RFP are due March 26, a selection committee will review the bids the week of March 29 and the bid winner will be selected at a later undetermined date.

Shelton said a public meeting related to the northwest revitalization will be held on Feb. 17 at 5:30 at the Owensboro City Commission chambers.

Trey Crumbie, 270-691-7297, tcrumbie@messenger-inquirer.com.

270-691-7297, tcrumbie@messenger-inquirer.com.

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