Part one of a three-part series
BOTHELL — On Nov. 5, residents will be tasked with a vote whether the Northshore Parks and Recreation Service Area (NPRSA)should authorize to impose regular property tax levies of four cents ($.04) or less per thousand dollars of assessed valuation for each of six consecutive years.
This maintenance and operations levy would cost the average homeowner in the district around $1.70 per month, or just over $20 a year, and will fund crucial upkeep for both the Northshore Senior Center and Health and Wellness Center including roof replacement, siding, windows, drainage, and mechanical systems.
An independent facilities assessment recently tallied the total repairs the center would need to remain safely operational at approximately $4.7M over the next decade.
NPRSA owns both buildings and is therefore responsible for major repairs but the upkeep; such as the prospective repairs above, and leases belong to the Northshore Senior Center. These two facilities serve over 5,000 seniors and individuals living with disabilities.
CEO of The Northshore Senior Center, Brooke Knight, who is passionate about her job, said the upgrades would allow a much loved and valued service to continue to provide area seniors a great place to congregate.
“There are a lot of rewarding things about being here at the Northshore Senior Center, but two stand out as the most important to me. The first is the strong sense of community people find here in our facilities and connected to our programs. The second thing that I find especially rewarding is the knowledge that we are having a real meaningful impact on people’s lives.”
Knight went on to explain the breadth of her work — from being there for someone when they fall to assisting someone that may have a progressing diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.
“Recently, one woman told us that she had lost 40 pounds in the year since her husband had passed away because she couldn’t afford the food she needed. Thanks to our food pantry, she now can stretch her resources further and doesn’t go hungry. While the story is incredibly sad, the knowledge that we were able to help this woman is amazing.”
Knight described the centers as warm and wonderful places. The staff seems to be a strong reason why these pleasant feelings radiate.
One of Knight’s colleagues, Susan Slate, agrees. “I see so many people that are appreciative of having someplace to come and be with others. They have made the effort to leave their comfort zone at home and join with other seniors for games, exercise, art, friendship, classes, lunch, and other endeavors."
Knights said the value of equity is often heard in educational spaces and sometimes as a crucial driver to some of the biggest businesses and non-profits in the Puget Sound region. The Northshore Senior Center holds equity as one of its guiding principles.
While the number of individuals that utilize the center’s services is already high, Knight said that there are likely many older adults and people with disabilities in the region that aren’t accessing the services due to transportation, the center’s language capacity, or other issues.
“This is a huge priority for us in 2020 and our hope is that everyone who needs care in our region is accessing it in a way that works for them,” she said.
Even for those that may not need the center’s services now, helping the community by offering to volunteer can be both personally rewarding and tremendously helpful.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization,” Knight said.
She explained how over 500 volunteers lend their time and talents each year.
“We also always need help with the funding and the things our programs need to be successful. We rely on donations from individuals each year to supplement the funding we receive from our various government partners and also require donated items like food for our food pantry. If you want to help, we’ll find a way to plug you in!"
One of the major aspects that makes the Northshore Senior Center so remarkable is that it not only provides these unique populations with options, it provides them with enriched lives.
“I love watching seniors from around the region come on Wednesdays for ballroom dance," Knight said. "There is a live band that plays, people dress up, and it is just a throw-back to a different and wonderful time.
Northshore Senior Center is really more than just a collection of programs and activities or events. It is the heart of this community. People of all ages enjoy this space at one time or another, whether it is for a school Lego Robotics project, a quinceañera, a 100th birthday party celebration, a 4th of July Festival and so much more. Our community can’t afford to lose this treasure.”