The three rules of real estate – “Location Location Location” – do not mean much if one cannot go from one location to the other. For Santa Monica’s seniors, they will no longer be able to enjoy the Senior Recreation Center at Palisades Park. However, they may have an easier time getting around the City of Santa Monica after council members adopted a senior-themed plan on April 24.
Based upon a presentation by the Human Services Division entitled “Services and Transportation Option for Seniors,” council members finalized a multi-pronged plan providing seniors with increased access to Dial-A-Ride and Los Angeles County’s paratransit services.
With greater access to services came a change in location for senior center activities, as the elderly will shift from beachfront views at Palisades Park to the hustle-and-bustle of downtown Santa Monica on Fourth Street’s Ken Edwards Center, where the non-profit WISE & Healthy Aging is located.
Under the new plan, seniors over the age of 80 who are registered with Dial-A-Ride will be able to take advantage of pre-arranged taxi services after 6 p.m, thanks to WISE & Health Aging. Currently, Dial-A-Ride’s door-to-door van service for seniors operates only until 6 p.m. The nighttime taxi service would allow seniors to be able to be out-and-about later into the day.
Staff also proposed regularly scheduled social excursions and 1,000 hours of door-to-door services to 50 seniors.
Council members Bobby Shriver and Kevin McKeown both voted against the proposed plan. Neither was too pleased with the proposed location change.
McKeown, for example, questioned whether the Palisades Park location, which will be used for general adult programs instead of catering specifically toward seniors, would violate the original intent of the building’s use.
McKeown asked “If this was given to us with the intent that it be a senior center, how can we take it away from the seniors?”
Meanwhile, Shriver voted “no” when no one provided specific details of how the Palisades Park facility would be used once the seniors migrated over to the Kent Edwards Center.
Among other concerns were that the Ken Edwards Center was not spacious enough for senior activities, or not enough natural light illuminating the facility. Seniors would also be sacrificing expansive views of the beach and ocean.
Still, the other five council members felt compelled to support the plan, which, according to staff, would more efficiently provide meals to seniors. The new downtown facility would effectively be, according to staff, a “one-stop shop” for seniors.
Currently, an estimated 250 seniors visit the senior center at Palisades Park during lunch hours to receive a government-subsidized meal.
WISE & Healthy Aging is one of nearly two-dozen non-profits in Santa Monica providing social services.
The Senior Recreation Center is currently located at 1450 Ocean Boulevard at Broadway.
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