Ready to go to work

Members of the newly-formed Community Center Work Group share their thoughts on moving ahead to find an answer to a question that has gripped the community of  Tracy: what to do about a new gathering place in town

By Per Peterson

Another chapter was added to the ongoing saga of the City of Tracy’s quest to find a new home for its senior community earlier this month when a Community Center Work Group was formed. And if Jeanine Vandendriessche has any say in the matter — which she does, as one of the five Tracy residents voted to the board — there will be some tangible progress in the near future.

Vandendriessche, along with Tony Peterson, Shirley Anderson, Ken Witt and Audrey Koopman, will team up with the seven city council members to work on some kind of solution to a problem that has plagued Tracy and area residents since the sale of the Multi-Purpose Center in 2020.

“All I want to do is find out exactly where we want to go and just work toward that goal,” said Vandendriessche, who unlike her fellow group members offers a voice that hasn’t been made public to date. “I’m kind of a worker. I have ideas, too, but I like to hear what other people’s ideas are, and then sort it out and see what the best way to go will be.”

Vandendriessche’s motivation to apply for inclusion on the group — there were 16 applications in all — is simple: she herself used the MPC before COVID. An avid bridge player, Vandendriessche spent plenty of time at the MPC, pre-pandemic, so she brings to the group an insight she wants to share with the group.

“I was down there every week almost,” she said. “I know all the people down there, and I know how much it was used and how much people enjoyed it. All the guys would come in for their coffee and cake and sit around and tell jokes — distract us from bridge!”

Witt’s hope is that the five residents who will be joining forces with the council will sink their teeth into the project. That is, they each should do their own research. He said the original steering committee, which met multiple times in 2020, was basically there to do such research, including quality of service and what should be in a new building.

“But at the end, it was a money issue,” said Witt. “Money and quality of service are the two big ones. I think this group of five hopefully can do research on those two items and determine, or at least give a recommendation to the council, as to what they found out.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.