The facility is set to be located on property owned by San Juan County just north of the county courthouse. The property served as a horseshoe pit for many years.
The project would include a 6,938 square foot building and parking for 55 vehicles.
Senior Citizen programs have been held in the basement of the San Juan County library in Monticello for several decades. A wide variety of programs are offered at the facility, including meals and entertainment.
According to public comment at the meeting, the facility suffers from access problems, a north-facing entrance that can be treacherous in the winter, dark conditions, and overcrowding.
The new facility would feature a 4,170 square foot great room that could accommodate groups large and small, including meetings of the San Juan County Commission.
“We would hope that a new Senior Center could be used for our Commission meetings,” said Commissioner Bruce Adams.
Adams said that the current location for the meetings, on the top floor of the courthouse, is not ADA accessible and causes challenges to many county residents who would like to participate in public meetings.
In addition, Adams suggested that the new building could possibly be used for other public functions.
More than a dozen Senior Citizens climbed the two flights of stairs to express support for the project at the January 27 hearing.
“The current building is an OK building, but it is not an asset to the community,” said Monticello resident Larry Langeford. “A new building would accommodate a lot more people and make their lives better.”
Commissioners expressed support for the project. “You can judge a community by the regard they give to their seniors and their kids,” said Commissioner Phil Lyman. “This is a chance to demonstrate that we do have high regard for seniors.”
Lyman said it is an appropriate use for a great space in the middle of town.
Commissioner Kenneth Maryboy added that seniors have the wisdom and experience that society needs.
Paying for the project is an ongoing concern. County Administrator Kelly Pehrson said the county may be able to contribute $375,000 from senior programs, which would be combined with the $125,000 value of the property to create a $500,000 local contribution to the project.
Adams suggested that the county approach the Community Impact Board (CIB) with a request for a $1 million grant and $500,000 loan to complete funding for the project.
Monticello resident Monte Wells asked if the project could be combined with a Monticello City project to build a new clubhouse/community center at the Hideout Golf Club. It was reported that bids for the Monticello project came in higher than was hoped, which may open the door for common ground on the two projects.
The county will continue to work with the city, explore funding options, and fine tune the proposal.
If CIB funding is secured, additional public hearings may be held.