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Charting a new course at the Canby Adult Center

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The Canby Adult Center is working with a consultant on an updated strategic plan for the future

The Canby Adult Center is working with a consultant to develop an updated strategic plan to change its image, and to consider whether it should remodel its existing 10,000-square-foot facility or perhaps move to a new location.DANIEL PEARSON - Canby Adult Center Director Kathy Robinson

Kathy Robinson, director of the Canby Adult Center, said she and her staff have been working with Portland-based market research firm Campbell De Long Resources, Inc., the same company that works with the Canby Fire District on its strategic planning.

They are now beginning to put strategies down on paper and taking baby steps to update the center's image.

"The biggest decision we have is whether we are going to stay in this building or look at starting a capital campaign to raise money," Robinson said. "(Most of) the available land in the city is between our current location and the Molalla River. Much of that land is planned for development so we have a little bit of time pressure here — there's just not a lot of land left. We love being on this side of town near Hope Village and we need to be on a major road or route."

Another issue with the existing building is that it is not owned by the Canby Adult Center; it's owned by the Canby School District. In March 2010, the city entered into a ground lease agreement with CSD where it agreed to pay $20,000 annually for the property. Terms of the lease also call for annual renegotiations between CSD and the City of Canby.

Most recently, in August 2016, the city renegotiated with CSD the terms of the ground lease agreement, which includes the Canby Swim Center, the Adult Center and the parking lot in-between, resulting in an estimated annual loss of revenue of $10,000 - $11,000 for the city.

"We're still hoping to work with the city to get some idea from the school district what their long-term plans are for this area," Robinson said. "That would push us quicker towards a decision if the school district is willing to look at alternate options for this land."

Robinson said the Adult Center may be looking at a "major revamping of the building."

"We could use at least one more classroom big enough for exercise space," she said. "I'd like to expand the recreational area to have more room for equipment and for exercise. We also need more and better staff office space."

The Canby Adult Center has 14 staff members, but the positions technically add up to just 7.5 full-time-equivalent workers, Robinson said.

Changing face of adult centers

Across the U.S., about 11,000 people turn 65 years old each day, according to the Washington Post. The Baby Boomer generation, however, seems to not be taking the same path towards retirement that the WWII generation did.

Robinson said that anecdotally, at least, more individuals and couples have started coming to the Canby Adult Center during the past few years — the first Baby Boomers, considered those born between 1946 and 1964, began to turn 65 in 2011.

Last fiscal year, which ran from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, the Adult Center served more than 42,000 meals to local seniors and disabled individuals, which was a 14 percent increase over the prior fiscal year. Two-thirds of those meals were delivered to people in their homes, which, for many, is the only social contact and informal wellness check they receive all day, Robinson said.

The Adult Center also is a popular Canby establishment for many who wish to dine out — Mayor Brian Hodson at a recent city council meeting commented on how good the center's meals are.

"We foresee demand only going up, especially as we are offering home-cooked meals," Robinson said. "But I'm seeing more and more people interested in different types of events — exercise classes are very popular, and line dancing is full three afternoons a week. Our morning Thai Chi class is growing. But Boomers are not joiners — they don't join clubs or groups — they are more interested in individual health and pursuits."

The senior population will double by the year 2050, and many will be less prepared financially than previous generations, but those seniors also will expect more out of public services, Robinson said.