TRAVERSE CITY — Max Binkley just stopped to play shuffleboard.
Now he finds himself helping to lead an effort to replace the Traverse City Senior Center.
Binkley, 68, hadn't used the center until he and his wife ventured there to play shuffleboard about two years ago.
"It's not an appealing building," Binkley said. "I talk to seniors and they say, 'why would I go into that building'."
Over time Binkley became familiar with the center and learned with surprise its significant level of programming. He soon found himself atop a committee that's charged with deciding whether a new center can be built on-site, or if a new location will be required.
"We've learned what is needed and looked at over 19 pieces of property and talked to a lot of people," Binkley said.
The current structure started out as picnic pavilion with a fire place, Binkley said. Walls and a few rooms were added to turn it into a senior center, but space is limited. It can hold just 40 people and does not accommodate multiple, simultaneous programs.
"We are one of the top centers in the state for the programs we can provide, but it's not big enough to house all the activities," said Lori Wells, Senior Center Network deputy director for the Grand Traverse County Commission on Aging. "Our seniors deserve much better than what we have right now."
Wells credits Binkley and Kim Schmitz, president of the support group Friends of the Traverse City Senior Center, with re-energizing the 20-year-old movement to replace the outdated building. The group obtained drawings and cost estimates to replace the current structure with a three-story building to handle programming and house COA offices. A feasibility study showed the friends group could raise $4 million, well below the $9 million needed.
"So now we're scaling back with a smaller building and looking at all fundraising options," Schmitz said.
One option is to find a new location for a full-service senior center while turning the current building into a satellite center. Binkley has looked at several possible locations, which include:
Grand Traverse Commons area; the old health department building; property around the new health department building on LaFranier Road, and the county owned Civic Center.
The group initially dropped both the Civic Center and old health department building as unworkable, but the Civic Center is back on the table. Binkley now sits on a county committee that is looking into expanding the Civic Center.
"I've been working on this a year ... and we start rolling along and then someone comes up with another idea," Binkley said. "At some point we'll have to say we've studied it enough."
Schmitz said the senior center currently has a great location and the general preference is to build at that site.
"There will have to be a lot of good reasons for that not to be the recommendation," she said.
Binkley said he hopes to have a recommendation ready for the COA within six months, but it might take a year.
"As I get deeper and deeper into this project I start to understand why it's never gotten any further," Binkley said. "But we are going to do this and I am not going to let this go.
"I do not want the seniors to be disappointed again."
TRAVERSE CITY — Max Binkley just stopped to play shuffleboard.
UPDATE: Mikko resigns as president of soccer referee assocation
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Clearing the Record: 07/31/2014
Because of incorrect information provided to the Record-Eagle, an article on the Aug. 10 Traverse City Antique Postcard & Rare Paper Show should have stated that there will be 10 dealers at 40 tables.Continued ...
Film Festival Schedule: 07/31/2014
What's happening Thursday at the Traverse City Film Festival:Continued ...
Step in line for 'just great movies'
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UPDATE: Prosecutor clears Beach Bums of wrongdoing
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New candidate hopes young voters weigh in
The youngest candidate in the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners primary contest hopes youthful voters will turn out to support his campaign. But that hope could be a long shot, if Ryan Walsh's own voting record is any indication.Continued ...
Two candidates hope experience offers edge in House race
Two candidates for the 104th state House seat already served Grand Traverse County as county commissioners. Now Republicans Robert Hentshel and Larry Inman are both vying to represent the county in Lansing.Continued ...
June retail strong
The jars of fruit preserves that left the front doors of American Spoon Foods’ downtown store added up to great June sales numbers for the local food producer.Continued ...
The film panel goes political
Things heated up at the Traverse City Film Festival’s first panel discussion, as politics took the center stage.Continued ...
Cheers erupt. Hands clap. Whoops sound. Three seconds of the movie is in the can — only three more minutes to go.Continued ...
Film Festival Outtakes: 07/31/2014
Clay artist Phil Wilson cut away peel from the fruit on a giant (by claymation standards) banana that accidentally had been crushed in production. “The giant banana needs tentacles.”Continued ...
Elmwood Township man arraigned on child pornography charges
An Elmwood Township man remains behind bars on accusations he sent child pornography over a computer file-sharing network.Continued ...
Mikko resigns as Grand Traverse soccer group president
The president of the Grand Traverse Area Soccer Officials Association will resign after he lost his license to practice law because he possessed nude images of teenage girls.Continued ...
Burritt's helps with Kids Fest hot dog crisis
It's a problem of foot-long proportions, a missing link just a week before the Film Festival.Continued ...
Whitewater fire cause undetermined
Investigators still haven't found what kindled a fire that destroyed a vacant Whitewater Township farmhouse.Continued ...
Nancy Krcek Allen: Crudités à la Française
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Beach Bums cleared of withholding fundraiser money
Authorities cleared the Traverse City Beach Bums baseball organization of allegations that the team illegally failed to distribute fundraiser money meant to be donated to the Grand Traverse Area Veterans Coalition.Continued ...
Food for the film-weary
There's nothing like a hot cup of coffee to kickoff the day, especially if you're waiting in line for an early screening at the Traverse City Film Festival.Continued ...
- Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Film Fest Kicks Off With the Bite
Carrie and Don Sattler watched "Jaws" as lovestruck teens on a first date. Now 35 years into their marriage they hunkered into lawn chairs and windbreakers for another first — their first Traverse City Film Festival flick at the Open Space.Continued ...
Grand Traverse County board to meet
Grand Traverse County board members will hold their monthly board meeting Wednesday night.Continued ...
Deputies' union rep leaves loaded gun in bathroom
A loaded handgun left behind in a Grand Traverse County governmental center bathroom belonged to a union official who represents sheriff’s deputies in contract negotiations.Continued ...
Film Festival Schedule: 07/30/2014
What's happening Wednesday at the Traverse City Film Festival:Continued ...
Film Festival Outtakes: 07/30/2014
Six Chicago-based Greenpeace workers are in Traverse City for Film Fest week to promote the organization's campaigns on honeybees, the rainforest, the Arctic and other environmental issues. (Plus more)Continued ...
Old city manager signed off on splash pad changes
Former City Manager Ben Bifoss approved a change order that led to several current problems with the city's splash pad at Clinch Park, city documents show.Continued ...
City clerk: I made a mistake
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- UPDATE: Mikko resigns as president of soccer referee assocation