History of the Longmont Senior Center
The Longmont Senior Program was founded in 1972 with funds from Title III of the Older American Act. The Golden Age Dance Club spearheaded efforts for the Center’s construction. Through City and HUD funds, a Senior Center was built in 1976. Initial programs included cards, dances, and potlucks. As participation increased, more programs were offered, encompassing a wide variety of service areas. The Center progressed to a new status as a multi-purpose Senior Center as employment, outreach, information, and referral were added to an expanded recreation program.
As the population of seniors increased, so did the need for more space; and in 1980, an addition was built onto the original structure. Space included a billiards room, two classrooms, a storage area and one office.
Senior Programs was originally under the City’s Parks and Recreation Department until 1982 when, due to the growth of supportive services, it was deemed appropriate to identify the Senior Services Division and to place it under the broader scope of the Department of Human Services.
From its inception the Senior Center has been a focal point for programs and services for adults 55+ and caregivers of older persons. It serves as the home for the City’s Senior Services Division and is a hub of information, a place for a wide variety of recreation and leisure activities, a resource focal point regarding various services to assist older adults in aging well, and a facility for other aging services providers to deliver services (including Boulder County Area Agency on Aging, Center for People with Disabilities, Parkinson and Alzheimer Associations, local hospitals, Meals on Wheels, and others), and provides space for numerous older adult-led activities and services.
In 1987, a third addition was completed. A commercial kitchen, dining room, two offices, a classroom and some storage space was added. In addition to the Senior Services Division, Longmont Meals on Wheels Inc. began to utilize space at the Senior Center. Meals-on-Wheels operates a lunch program five days a week at the Center as well as a home-delivered meal program. The then named RSVP, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, also had office space assigned to them, however after many years they secured office space elsewhere. They later became known as Cultivate.
For several years, Senior Services received a variety of grants to support outreach and emotional support to caregivers of older adults. In 1993 a half time Senior Resources Coordinator position was added to the team and later became a full time position dedicated to overseeing emotional support efforts and coordinating resources.
In 2001, the Senior Center underwent a major renovation and expansion costing over 2 million dollars. The result included the addition of three classrooms, new restrooms, eleven offices, a lobby/atrium space, a conversion of the multi-room to a gym-type space, and significant public address and acoustical upgrades. In addition, AgeWell (originally titled PrestigePlus) , a senior wellness program of Longmont United Hospital, became an onsite resident of the facility and uses office space for administrative, nurse, and treatment services.
In 2003, the department of which Senior Services is a part underwent organizational change. A new name Community Services was given and the Recreation Services Division became a part of this department.
In 2012 a 450 square foot addition was completed as part of the commercial kitchen service area. This addition was paid for in its entirety by Longmont Meals on Wheels, Inc. for which they received a 20 year lease.
Strategic planning begun in 2006 resulted in the county-wide Creating Vibrant Communities in which All Age Well Plan. This was updated in 2010, 2014, and again in 2018. In 2016 this Plan was the basis for a collaborative effort done in combination with the DRCOG Boomer Bond Assessment product and the Longmont Area Comprehensive Plan update, resulted in the Envision Longmont Aging Well document outlining priorities for action for the entire city of Longmont organization. This was adopted by City Council in March 2016.
The 2019 administrative budget of the Senior Services Division is $ 879,031. These funds provide all staff salary and program costs. The Division is required to raise 100% of the direct costs related to the senior recreation program and therefore this budget is separate from the administrative budget. All other costs are subsidized by the City of Longmont including utilities and regular building maintenance.
In 2020, the Senior Services team consists of 9 full time employees; Senior Services Manager, Seniors Resources Counselor and Resource Educator, 2 Seniors Resources Specialists (one of these positions is mandatory bilingual), Seniors Recreation Supervisor, Seniors Recreation Coordinator, Administrative Assistant, Office Assistant, and Custodian. In addition there is a 40 hour regular Seniors Resource Specialist position funded at 30 hours by the City and 10 hours by the Friends, a 30 hours regular Custodian position, a 20 hour Marketing Specialist position shared with Recreation Services to make it a full time regular position, a 25 hour part time non benefited Office Assistant and other part time recreation staff.
Additional funding is provided by the Friends of the Longmont Senior Center, Inc. This 501(c)3 organization has raised and received funds used to enhance programs, services and the facility since 1981. The Friends have donated well over $1,000,000 to the Senior Center to date. In recent years, there have been three separate gifts with amounts close to or exceeding $500,000. Current total assets for the Friends are now close to $2,000,000. For the last several years the Friends have provided funding for positions including the Marketing Specialist and Seniors Resource Specialist. In 2020 the Friends provided funding for 10 hours a week with benefits for one of the Seniors Resource Specialist positions and will hopefully continue to do so.