Norwalk city council was approached Tuesday night by SES executive director Roxanne Sandles about the possibility of building a new senior center as an addition to the east side of Ernsthausen Community Center.
The preliminary plans call for a 100 by 150 foot senior center along with a 70 by 160 foot vehicle barn.
Cost for the two buildings is estimated at $4.7 million.
There was plenty of discussion and debate, but no decisions made.
Council president Steve Euton said the discussion would be between the administration and the SES board and encouraged the two sides to meet as often as possible to get on the same page. Huron County commissioner Terry Boose, speaking on behalf of the SES board, said it would like to get some answers quickly so it can start looking for funding. He pointed out a Nov. 15 grant deadline with the state which Euton said was impossible.
Boose said the SES board was told flat out the project would not work with the vehicle barn. Safety-Service Director Dan Wendt said the SES board was told the project would not work with the vehicle barn set up the way it was in its original form. Sandles showed a revised drawing with the barn turned 90 degrees to take up less green space.
“Conceptually it’s a great opportunity for a partnership,” Euton said. “There are a lot of details to be worked out. We need a lot of sit-down discussions. ... We want this to be a successful relationship and not a contentious relationship.
“It’s not going to be easy.”
Sandles said her group is looking a fundraisers, grants and loans to help pay for the new center. “We do have an operating levy through the county,” she said. “Down the road we might look at a permanent improvement levy. The board is not looking for a levy right away.”
“We think it could be a win-win,” Duncan said. “We have 70-plus people (seniors) coming in silver sneakers every day to the rec center. There are a lot of positive things. ... But a lot of unknowns.”