POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The City of Pocatello is considering the creation of a new community center and members of the Senior Activity Center are not happy.
A petition created by center regular John Jones has more than 150 signatures. Jones said he created the petition to bring attention to the fact that the center's board was more focused on the idea of a community center than preserving their own, and to show the board members what they really want.
"That is to keep our home here, keep this center," Jones said. "Repair it, expand it if we need to."
The creation of a community center isn't a definite thing. For now, it's just an idea.
According to Rick Cheatum, a Pocatello City Council member and the liaison between the council and the senior center, the city created a temporary committee several months ago to address the needs of all the community's seniors.
"Two representatives each from three different senior groups around town," he explained. "The Senior Activity Center, the New Knowledge Adventures and the United Seniors project."
The concept that the group has come up with surrounds finding a facility that can accommodate the needs of all three groups.
During this process, Cheatum says it has become apparent that many senior activity centers around the country have shifted more towards community centers.
"So that there's the advantage of multi-generational contacts and work together. Whether you're little kids, you know, high school, junior high, young adults, older citizens, all doing things together," he said.
But those, like Jones, aren't a fan of any part of the idea.
"We want to keep just the seniors here. We don't want to be a collection of other groups," he said, adding that the Senior Activity Center has a different mission statement than other senior groups. "It's totally different."
On Friday, board members of the Pocatello Senior Activity Center addressed the petition and the concerns of many of their members.
"I believe they got the point. There are 167 of us that want to stay here, want ‘em to focus on this building," he said. "It took a group meeting like this for those who were going to do their own ideas of what we would want to realize the seniors know what they want."
Nothing has been decided yet. Cheatum says they've looked at three potential buildings and even considered expanding the Senior Activity Center.
"And we are still in the planning phase of exactly what do we need ... and what would be the difference between building a senior center and building a community center," he said.