Report on potential senior center sites expected in September

Construction costs, parking and traffic will be among the considerations

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Plans for a senior center in Highlands Ranch will remain in limbo until September, when a report on potential locations is expected to be complete, the Highlands Ranch Metro District announced at a June 25 board meeting.

In February, a proposal for a site near Town Center came to a halt amid parking concerns. Plans for the 2-acre plot of land next door to James H. LaRue library called for a 22,000-square-foot senior center — owned by the metro district — attached to apartments that Shea Properties called affordable senior housing. Plans for the four-story apartment building with 130 units are moving forward.

The Town Center site could accommodate 130 parking spots for tenants of the apartment complex. The senior center would raise that number to 200-250.

Parking, and the potential of off-site parking, concerned a group of seniors from the Highlands Ranch Senior Club — comprising about 300 members — who spoke at several metro district board meetings, also citing lack of space for expansion and overcrowding from tenants of the affordable housing.

“Our concern was the parking, or lack there of, and the ability to go from wherever to an offsite parking to get to the senior club,” Sue Frommelt, vice president of the senior club, said at the June 25 meeting.

At a study session on Feb. 20, the metro district board of directors advised metro district staff to explore other possible locations in the community. An already started traffic study on parking needed for a 22,000-square-foot senior center is underway. The final report is expected to be complete in September, said Carrie Ward, the metro distict's director of parks, recreation and open space.

“We will set up a framework so public comment can be received in an organized fashion,” Ward said, noting that a public comment period is expected to be discussed at a July 30 board meeting, starting at 6 p.m. at the metro district's Hendrick Office Building, 62 Plaza Drive.

The metro district is looking at 18 sites, Ward said. Considerations include utilities, construction costs, parking and traffic. Communication with property owners, including Douglas County and Douglas County School District, is ongoing, Ward said.

“The list of sites that are most feasible is much shorter,” Ward said. “We don't intend to discuss specific sites until the report is done in September.”

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