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New Millcreek Community Center Offers Something for All Ages

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By Andrea Smardon

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kuer/local-kuer-1009207.mp3

Salt Lake City, UT – A new community center in Millcreek opens Wednesday. The center combines a library, recreation resources, and aging services all under one roof. It houses the first senior center in Millcreek - which has a rapidly growing population of older people. KUER's Andrea Smardon took a tour and has this report.

Architect Kenner Kingston thought a lot about common space when he designed the new Millcreek Community Center. He wanted to find a way to unify three government agencies serving different needs.

"The community and the site are very much related to the creek, Mill Creek, and so this center lobby that joins all of the spaces together, that brings together the three divisions is the canyon," said Kingston.

Then there is the indoor track which meanders around like a trail through the 2nd floor, with views of the park outside, and the lobby below.

"The track is the unifying element because all the groups can use it. Any age can use it. It links from the farthest reaches of recreation to the story-time room for the library," Kingston said.

Salt Lake County mayor Peter Corroon says the project is a rare partnership that he hopes might be a new model.

"As a government, we think we can do things more efficiently," said Corroon, "One of the things we can do is build facilities together. Instead of building a separate library, building a rec center, building a senior center, why not build them together? It's cheaper and in some sense, we provide better services by doing that."

Bev Uipi is the manager for the new Senior Center, and she says it will be like no other program out there. The parks and rec instructors will offer special senior fitness classes - including gold zumba, the library will have a senior book club, and the caf - which is open to all ages - will offer a free daily meal to those over 60. Uipi is looking for ways to bring the generations together.

"We have a 12 year-old who will be teaching a Facebook class to our seniors here on our iMacs," said Uipi, "Our seniors haven't wanted to figure out how to use their cell phones, so we have the kids coming in to teach them how to use their iphones."

Likewise, she's hoping the seniors can teach the kids about billiards and card games, and she's thinking about an intergenerational Olympics when the adjacent park is finished.

"There are things that we're going to be trying here that have never been done before, but it will be fun," said Uipi, "There will be something here for everyone in the family unit."

Uipi says many of the programs are still under development and will rely on volunteers.

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