Carl Gipson Center reopening keeps seniors at forefront

Reopening Carl Gibson Center keeps seniors ahead

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Carl Gibson Center as seen in a city photograph taken on an unknown date.

Absolutely – When it reopens Jan. 3, the Lombard Street Seniors Center will keep all of its old favorites: ping-pong tables, a coffee shop, and daily lunches.
But it will have a shorter name and a broader focus.
It was renamed the Carl Gibson Center. They have dropped the word “big” from the building’s name. Its operators maintain that they did not cut the elderly.
Instead, the plan is to expand how the building will be used: Senior members’ hours will probably be during the morning and afternoon, and eventually, community events at the center at night, as described by new center director Corey Armstrong-Hoss.
The center is operated on a 14-year, private and public lease by America West Volunteers, Washington.
Armstrong-Hoss said the immediate focus is on inviting senior members to return.
The membership fee will be $25. Includes fitness classes and parking permits. The cost can be waived for those on low incomes.
Entry to the center requires proof of vaccination or religious exemption.
Public programs can be ceramics, music lessons, art lessons, or other things you can do at the center. These will not start until several months after the start of the new year.
Square on the target attracts Baby Boomers, who today range in age from 75 to 57, to the Carl Gipson Center. Armstrong-Hoss, who also happens to be 42, said the stigma against going for “senior position” among the generation that was once taught not to trust anyone over 30 was one factor in dropping the word “big” from the name. The other reason is to expand the center’s appeal.
Bob Leonard, Everett’s director of parks and facilities, said seniors are our “first priority” for the center.
Leonard said operations in general are not changing for the center. Assistant Parks Director Kimberly Moore said nearly everything remained on the building.
The center closed in March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want to make sure it’s fully used,” Leonard said when it reopens.
One idea is to get people of multiple generations to come play and mingle. Your table tennis opponent may just be a teenager after school.
Armstrong-Hoss said studies show that interaction is healthy and emotionally satisfying for older adults and young adults.
“If it’s done on purpose, we can serve these residents,” Armstrong-Hoss said.
Later in the year, groups may come in the evening for events such as art classes, social club meetings, or the like.
The center has several rooms inside, the largest of which is the large ballroom Cascade View, which was the venue for many civic events in the pre-pandemic period.
The city ran the center itself. It suspended that and laid off the center’s staff as one of the cuts to the $3.6 million emergency budget made in April 2020.
Later, the city began looking for private organizations to partner with to help reopen some facilities and spaces that the current city budget does not allow. An agreement with VOA was signed by the city council in August.
The city believes that VOA can enhance services for seniors, because the nonprofit can connect people to its network of other resources. VOA operates the Everett Food Bank and also operates a 2-1-1 helpline.
Prior to his appointment as Center Manager by VOAWW, a few years ago Armstrong-Hoss ran operations at Mukilteo Family Y and was the Director of Casino Road Community Center under YMCA.
The center was renamed in 2007 for Carl Gipson, a longtime city council member.

Festive Events December 18-19 at the Carl Gibson Center
On the North Courtyard of the Carl Gibson Center, there will be a free holiday event on Saturday, December 18 and Sunday, December 19 from 2 to 8 p.m. Time between 2-5 p.m. is for seniors 50 and older families. The event will include music, hot cocoa, coffee and Santa. Masks will be required.
The center’s address is 3025 Lombard Ave.

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