To the Editor:

Concerning the article in the April 17 KDH on the Killeen City Council’s possible future plans for the Bob Gilmore Senior Center:

Having had the privilege of overseeing the City of Killeen’s senior citizens program for 30 years, I am well aware of of the structural issues concerning the building but more importantly the needs of the senior community.

Before a decison is made, I’d like the city manager and the City Council to take seriously the following:

1) Seniors have raised their families. They attend the senior centers for an opportunity to fellowship with persons of their generation without background noise and distractions. Senior adults like their space without sharing it with the community.

2) Historically, the Lions Club Park Senior Center and the Bob Gilmore Center were “loaned” out to various organizations and groups with activities not relating to seniors. The city got “zip” for use of the building, staff and supplies.

These “outside” activities were not budgeted for; thus, the repairs and supplies came out of the senior centers’ annual budget without compensation.

3) Blending the Gilmore Center and Community Center is not progress; it stifles the growth of the senior program. The Lions Club Senior Center was built because senior participation outgrew the Bob Gilmore Center.

4) In 2007, the then-City Council realized the need for two senior centers — one north, one south to accommodate the elderly — many without transportation.

They planned for the future and did not forget the vital role the Bob Gilmore Center played for the elderly who lived in the older section of the city.

5) In 1977, the Bob Gilmore Senior Center was built with HUD federal money, for the sole purpose as a respite for the elderly.

Bob Gilmore (a past City Council member and concerned activist) worked tirelessly for 13 years to petition and worked with the city to build a building so the seniors could have a separate building.

Sadly, Mr. Gilmore passed away before the building was finished. Thus, the building was named in his honor.

6) In the past, I was always so proud to state to visitors that our city, Killeen, so highly regards its elderly population that it provides two senior centers for the community. Why now must they give up their individual separate location and compete for room space only to be a section of a noisy community center?

7) This will also equate to a smaller kitchen where daily homemade meals are made and served, and no separate rooms for growth of new activities.

Many seniors are on fixed incomes and depend on the senior nutrition provided at the senior center. That kitchen space is badly needed.

Note, too, that multiple noise sources caused by sport activities, loud music, etc. are a physical handicap to seniors with hearing loss.

I have witnessed firsthand the impact a senior facility can play on the family unit. Their senior loved one can share their day outside — still participating in life, still growing and still having fun, all while being active while peacefully enjoying the company of persons of their generation.

Let’s think to the future and think of the actual needs of the seniors themselves. After all, aren’t we all headed in that direction?

I implore the senior community to let your voice be heard. Talk to your council members.

Do you actually want to lose your separate Bob Gilmore Senior Center building, only to be suctioned onto a multipurpose, limited community building like a lamprey to a host fish? Take action.

Debbie Edwards

Retired senior center manager

Killeen

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