Adult Center of Prescott launches fundraiser for new outdoor pavilion
By Cindy Barks | Cindy_Barks
Originally Published: April 17, 2021 5:15 p.m.
‘Our 50- to 90-year-olds need to be active regardless of COVID’
Adult Center of Prescott Executive Director Lucy Mason points to the area east of the current Adult Center building that is being earmarked for a new outdoor pavilion. The organization recently launched the “It’s a New Day at the Adult Center of Prescott” campaign to raise the money to build the pavilion.
The dance floors, bridge tables, and exercise rooms of the Adult Center of Prescott have been largely empty and silent for the past year.
Because of the high risk of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Adult Center, which caters to people in the 50- to 90-age range, had to close its doors to most of its popular activities, and the center has yet to open back up.
For the leadership at the Adult Center, the COVID closure begs the question: What if many of the traditional activities could take place outdoors?
That question has led to a fundraising drive for a new outdoor pavilion — called the “Active Life Center” — which would feature a roof, removable dance floor, and portable stage.
Adult Center Executive Director Lucy Mason says having an outdoor space would not only allow the Adult Center to get back to normal sooner, but it would offer a new dimension for people who have been shut in for months.
“The bottom line is we have got to get our members outside — who have been shut in and shut out of physical, mental and social activities — going again, moving again, having fun with friends and acquaintances,” she said.
VARIETY OF ACTIVITIES
Typically, the Adult Center, which was built on East Rosser Street in 2005, offers a wide range of activities for mature residents.
Mason says that pre-COVID, many of the center’s 800 members were accustomed to stopping by multiple times a week for bingo games, exercise and dance classes, creative arts, cooking demonstrations, and bridge sessions.
But over much of 2020 and early 2021, the pandemic has shut down the Adult Center. Mason said she hears regularly from members who are hoping to get back to the center’s activities.
“Our 50- to 90-year-olds have got to be active regardless of COVID,” she said.
Currently, outdoor facilities are almost non-existent at the center, with most of the action taking place indoors. But Mason said many of the traditional activities that the Adult Center provides could take place in the open air, if the facility were available.
“We know that COVID-19 is not going to go away,” Mason said, noting that variants or other viruses are likely to continue indefinitely.
The outdoor space would provide more choices in the future, Mason said, and would “ensure that activities could continue with precautions, even with future virus outbreaks.”
She added: “The Active Life Center pavilion will bring an expansion of activities and breathe fresh new life into the Adult Center of Prescott while we anxiously await being able to fully open our building to activities.”
The pavilion, which would have sweeping views to the northeast, would also be available for community activities and celebrations, Mason said.
A site plan is currently being developed for a pavilion with a concrete floor and a steel constructed roof. It is being planned on the east side of the Adult Center building.
The cost for the site work, concrete, and installation is estimated at $309,400. Restrooms are also being planned, and Mason said the total cost for the project would likely be in the half-million-dollar range.
“It’s a big lift,” she said of the fundraising effort. “We will need help from the city and the community.”
Because the COVID pandemic is central to the need for the pavilion, Mason said the project should be eligible to receive some of the money the City of Prescott is receiving through federal COVID relief programs.
Recreation Services Director Joe Baynes said a no-cost license agreement has already been administered to allow the Adult Center to build the pavilion on about a half-acre of the city’s land east of the Adult Center.
Baynes added that the city is still awaiting details on how it will be allowed to use the $6.4 million it is estimated to receive in American Rescue Plan money.
The city expects to get more information from the federal government by mid-May, Baynes said, and if applicable, the pavilion would likely be contemplated for some of the money.
Overall, Baynes sees the pavilion as a positive addition to the Adult Center. “I think it’s a good idea to be able to have outdoor programming; it’s a good use of the property,” he said.
As of mid-April 2021, the Adult Center is still largely closed because of the pandemic. Mason said she hopes that some activities will be able to return by late May/early June.
Meanwhile, she said a number of needed renovations and improvements have been underway on the Adult Center building.
Information on donating to the pavilion project is available on the Adult Center’s website at https://www.adultcenterofprescott.org/ (under the “Donate” button), or by calling 928-778-3000, ext. 104.