Senior Center Future


Last updated 5/15/2019 at 9:26am

In a public meeting held last week in the Library Community Room, Joe Gavin, the Chief of Programs and Community Engagement from the San Diego Senior Community Foundation, spoke to a group of community leaders about the needs of seniors in Borrego.

His group is conducting a survey of senior Borregans to determine which issues are important and possibly in need of outside funding. The survey is sponsored by the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund.

One of the key issues is transportation. Borrego Springs is fairly isolated, and there is no day-to-day public transportation. Many senior citizens who don’t drive are at the mercy of neighbors, friends, and family to get them where they need to go, especially medical appointments. There is a public bus into San Diego, but its route is only one or two days a week. It’s a complicated issue.

Questions need to be answered: How many senior citizens (and possibly others) would take advantage of the opportunities of provided transportation? Where are places they need to go? Would the service be available during limited hours, 24/7, or something in between? Would they be able to go outside of Borrego or just locally?

Drivers need to be screened and drug tested, and a simplified process must be put in place to allow seniors to get the affordable transportation they need at the time they need it. And then the entire tenor of the conversation changed.

“Wouldn’t it be great,” one attendee asked, “if a full-service Senior Center (meals, exercise, recreation) was located within a cluster of affordable housing?”

Enter Bill and Jenny Wright.

This will be a very brief summary of what they proposed at the end of the meeting, because their “feasibility study” for the idea is only a few weeks from completion. We at the Sun will update this information once the Wright’s have assessed costs and benefits.

But here’s the gist of it: They have a plan for building a Senior Center Complex that includes both a full-service Center and over 100 affordable housing units surrounding it, located on Wright property just northwest of the Library.

He says there is a little-known “Tax Credit” financial instrument available that cuts down severely on bureaucratic red tape and, surprising even to Wright, the entire project could be completed and ready for occupancy in two years.

Bill Wright has commissioned the feasibility study, and it should be available for more detailed reporting by either the May 16 or May 30 issue of the Borrego Sun.

We will be keeping an eye on this breaking development that is so important for our local seniors.