LENEXA, Kan. — The Lenexa City Council is preparing for a facelift in Old Town Lenexa, turning the community and senior centers into a new hub of action.
The current centers near Santa Fe Trail Drive and Pflumm Road were previously slated for updates in 2018, but the pandemic put the project on hold.
The city says it plans to build up the senior community and add outdoor space.
On Tuesday, the Lenexa City Council met to increase the budget for the project by about $2.5 million.
The project will now cost a total of $12.1 million project; council members cited inflation as the reason for the increase.
For much of the last six years, Bonnie Stratton and her husband have gone to the Lenexa Senior Center in Old Town.
“Every Tuesday," Stratton said. “Everybody feels comfortable there, everybody knows each other."
From fiestas, to ice cream socials, potlucks, holiday parties and birthday Wednesdays, Stratton has had good times in Lenexa.
“I mean, we went to bingo today, and they had to turn some people away because there’s not enough room,” Stratton said. We’ve kind of quit going because it’s so crowded, but we do go to bingo every Tuesday.”
She talked about her wish list for the new construction.
“Space, we need more space,” Stratton said.
She’s focused on accessibility, safety, audio equipment and kitchen space for meals on wheels. She also wants no one to be turned away.
“The handicap parking, we need handicap parking,” she said. “If it’s really going to be increased to 118 people capacity to play bingo, then we need handicap parking.”
The City of Lenexa says they will consolidate the two buildings, expand the dedicated senior area, its own entrance, update locker rooms, the gym floor and siding, add murals, pickleball and outdoor gathering areas.
City staff says they heard the feedback and are on top of it, adding additional ADA spaces and increased square footage specifically for seniors.
“They are an amazing part of our community,” said Logan Wagler, director for the city of Lenexa Parks and Recreation Department. “Our community continues to age. The demand for those services, not just for what we call seniors, but active agers continue to grow. This space gives us the full complement of opportunity to program and provide services for that demographic."
Stratton wants to make sure the construction doesn’t cause she and her friends to miss out on activities.
“I don’t care whether or not I win bingo,” she said. “I just like to get out and go somewhere. As you get older, you can fall into the routine of just staying home and not even getting dressed. This way it gives you the opportunity to get up, get dressed, meet other people."
Wagler assured there will be a place for Lenexa's seniors to lounge during the construction.
“As far as the senior center goes, we will completely construct and have the new space ready to go before we shut down and demolish the old building,” Wagler said. “They will have no disruption in service whatsoever.”
Once the final plan and bids are approved in November, the city said construction is slated to start in January 2024 and be finished in December 2024.
City staff reiterated that the old senior center demolition is planned for September 2024 and the activities will be moved to the new space inside the community center.
The city said they will soon open up community feedback for the mural designs from Oct. 13 to Dec. 13.