Bend’s seniors got good news recently when the Bend Park & Recreation District reopened the Senior Center on Reed Market Road. Work on what will become the Larkspur Community Center isn’t finished, to be sure, but the work that emptied the building for the summer is far enough along to allow the seniors back in.
Construction on the $1.4 million original center began in 1999, and the building opened two years later. It was built by the city but operated by the park district, and it housed the United Senior Citizens of Bend. It was one of those arrangements that worked until it didn’t, and after an acrimonious few years and a lawsuit, the battle between the seniors and the park district ended when time ran out on the suit itself. No one, in other words, actually won.
Today the district is operating the center. When the job is complete in 2020, the facility will be some 34,000 square feet larger than the existing 14,000-square-foot building and include such amenities as a warm-water pool, a jogging track and a fitness center, among other things. The name change reflects the change in the center’s scope, from a place built for the community’s older residents to one that serves a broad range of age groups in a district that certainly needs the additional indoor facilities. That said, the recently reopened portion of the center will continue to be focused on the community’s senior citizens.
Cost of the project is expected to be about $23.4 million.
For now activities at the center continue to be focused on seniors, and they no doubt will be welcome to use the new facilities, as well. That’s the way it should be. Without seniors’ initial interest, the original center might never have been built.