A proposed $12 million senior center in Highlands Ranch has taken a step forward with a recommended site south of Highlands Ranch Parkway, just east of the intersection with South Broadway. The …
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A proposed $12 million senior center in Highlands Ranch has taken a step forward with a recommended site south of Highlands Ranch Parkway, just east of the intersection with South Broadway.
The Highlands Ranch Metro District will continue collecting public comments regarding the proposed location through March 16. The comments will be discussed during the board of directors meeting on March 30.
As of Feb. 26, Sherry Eppers, community relations manager for the metro district, said the district had already received more than 200 comments.
Metro district General Manager Mike Renshaw said that when he came on board in January, he took a fresh look at the 23 sites that were considered for the new senior since 2017. There were three listed as finalists, with the Highlands Ranch Parkway location serving as the best option.
“A significant part of moving forward with this project has been site evaluation,” Renshaw said. “We need an area with the right topography and land.”
Renshaw said besides the Highlands Ranch Parkway location, they looked at a site near Toepfer Park and Plaza Drive on the northwest side of the district.
Renshaw, who has had experience in developing successful senior centers in the past, said he applied his knowledge and expertise to the process.
“The Highlands Ranch Parkway location has the greatest potential for success,” he said. “Both short term and long term.”
Renshaw said the five-acre site will be able to meet the goals of the senior center, which centers around building a facility that will feature programs in education, health and entertainment. The most important aspect of building a senior center in Highlands Ranch, Renshaw said, is creating an environment where senior residents can socialize, interact and have a sense of place.
Eppers said the senior center will likely have a variety of multi-purpose rooms for games and clubs. They are also considering health-related options and having a location for the Silver Sneakers fitness program, which currently cannot be implemented in the local recreation centers.
The call for a senior center came up in 2017 when demographics showed that more seniors were staying or moving into Highlands Ranch.
Renshaw said the growing senior population is a good sign for Highlands Ranch.
“It's fantastic to see that folks who came here 20 years ago have decided to stay,” he said.
Another reason to select the Highlands Ranch Parkway location, Renshaw said, is because it is currently owned by the metro district.
Director of Public Works Jeff Case said, “It's a good site that can be easily developable. It's in good shape.”
Like all new buildings, Case said, the property will need to be graded and have roadways built. However, the land already has the appropriate zoning designation through Douglas County, all utilities will be easy to hook up and it will fit into the area well.
The proposed site has also been evaluated by an engineering consultant, which determined there would be no measurable impact to surrounding properties from stormwater runoff associated with the construction of the senior center.
Case said the property is currently neighbored by a church, residential properties to the east and a CenturyLink communications building.
In the public comment stage, Case said they put a priority on not just what neighbors to the property think, but also in answering all community concerns.
“We respect everyone's input,” he said. “We want the community as a whole to know that this is not gong to have a negative impact on the area.”
Eppers said funding for the new senior center will come from system-development fees and not added taxes to residents. System-development fees are paid to the district by a developer for new construction projects.
Eppers said residents can get the facts and information about the proposed plan at www.highlandsranch.org/seniorcenter. The link also provides information on how to submit a comment through March 16.
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