By Per Peterson
The committee that has been formed to brainstorm ideas for a new community center met for the second time Wednesday evening — another step in the process of developing plans for a new home for seniors, and the community as a whole.
Tracy City Administrator Erik Hansen said the group has strong opinions as to the future of a new center in town — and that, he said, is a good thing.
“I think it’s great that people are able to really talk about how they feel about this issue because it’s really important to them,” Hansen said. “It’s going to take some time to bring people together on a solution that everyone can support, but I’m optimistic that can happen.”
The sale of the Multi-Purpose Center to Plaid Moose owners has sparked both debate and tension in town, since it essentially left seniors without a home to gather, eat, socialize and do things like play cards. The Plaid Moose is an established restaurant in downtown Slayton, and city leaders hope for the same in downtown Tracy.
Now, the question is, where does the city go from here when it comes to taking care of its senior population?
In his presentation last week, Hansen said the homework he and EDA Director Jeff Carpenter most recently did involved studying community centers in Windom and Redwood Falls, as well as in a town called Sisters, a small community in Oregon — cities with a similar population to Tracy. Hansen said the main takeaway from that research was that cities can be anything they want and do anything they want, but that whatever is built in Tracy should meet the needs of the community as a whole.
“We need to talk about what the community needs,” said Hansen. “We can make this whatever it is the community wants. We have all kinds of possibilities.”
Hansen said it’s vital to build community support for this large of a project, since the community could very well be asked to support a facility financially.
See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.