A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany center’s goal: Appeal to all ages

Written June 21st, 2021 by Hasso Hering

The council listens Monday as Kim Lyddane, bottom right, outlines the city’s plan to rename and reopen the Albany Senior center.

The Albany Senior Center will be “rebranded” as the Riverfront Community Center when it reopens, probably this fall, after being all but shut down since March 2020 because of state rules to slow the spread of the Covid disease.

The city council seemed delighted after hearing about the plans for the reopening from Kim Lyddane, parks and recreation director, at a work session Monday afternoon.

The gist of her message and her plan is that the center needs to diversify what it does and what it means to the community. It has to start making more revenue to support itself. It should offer programs that appeal to people of all ages. And it should always be a welcoming place for older adults as well.

The senior center opened on the riverfront at the foot of Washington Street in 1975 in what a few years later became Monteith Riverpark. It was expanded and remodeled in 1988.

The building gets about 20,000 visits a year. In fiscal 2019 it recovered, from fees for various programs, 34 percent of its costs, .

Lyddane offered no firm target date for reopening. But getting the place ready for a new array of activities and programs will probably take all summer, which puts the reopening some time in the fall.

As the Riverfront Community Center, the place will have an expanded schedule of leisure, skill building, education, wellness and fitness activities, along with what the recreation director called “fun programs for all ages.”

She stressed the center’s continued role in serving seniors. This includes having dedicated daytime hours for programs for older adults. Also, holiday meals and events for seniors are to be continued, and ties with various groups such as Meals on Wheels and Tax Aid will be renewed.

In short, Lyddane said, the center will continue to be a trusted resource for older adults.

The council, from what I could tell by watching the session on Zoom, liked what it heard.

Kim Lyddane during her talk with the council via Zoom.

5 responses to “Albany center’s goal: Appeal to all ages”

  1. Steven Reynolds says:

    I was impressed with the presentation. It was one of the first times I have heard a revenue source that wasn’t on the backs of resident’s homes or their water supply. I already signed up for the River Rhythms account waiting for tickets to go on sale. I think Ms. Lyddane gets it, she realizes she needs revenue to make things happen, rather than tax residents harder and deal with the constant narrative of cuts, she seems to understand how valuable the assets and programs she controls.

    I believe she’ll be pleasantly surprised how much in demand the River Rhythm concerts really are, they’re known throughout the state, residents have significant competition with non-residents for access. We’re getting ready to make a substantial investment in the River Rythym’s venue hopefully the community will see a nice return on that investment. I see many communities ask $100+ for seats to their “concerts in the park” that feature top notch entertainment, in Oregon she’s competing with the casinos for talent and she understands she needs revenue to compete. We’re not asking to make money on any of this, we’re just are trying to relive some of the burden of our tax obligations, just break even. I don’t believe it’s our obligation to supply nice venues, entertainment, safety protocols, and infrastructure to other communities for “free”, just like anyone else we want to be paid for our investments and work.

  2. James Engel says:

    Hummm, wonder what Dave Clark would have to say on this matter. He was great!

  3. Richard Granvold says:

    Take away Hazelwood Park, take away the Senior Center, you made more citizens of Albany and old Albany Vets. upset at these decisions and have given the Parks. Dept. a bad rep.

  4. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Albany needs more revenue to sustain its P&R facilities and programs?

    Given Albany loves to copy what other cities are doing, I suggest they look north and use the Seattle model.

    To avoid spending taxpayer dollars, White people should be charged a $10-$50 reparations fee to participate in the community center or attend a community event.

    Black trans and queer peoples should be allowed free access because they are often shamed by cis-heteronormative community. It’s time for Albany to prioritize this segment of the hidden rainbow.

    The Albany Human Relations Commission should lead the effort.

  5. Bob Stalick says:

    Larry Whittaker and I were part of the original planning group for the Senior Center project. The area where it is located was a blackberry vine field back in the day before the center was built there, The whole riverfront area is so much better now, and I think the center was the start of that improvement


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