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Oklahoma City Council is divided at prospect of only two MAPS 3 senior centers

BY MICHAEL KIMBALL Modified: November 21, 2012 at 5:29 pm •  Published: November 22, 2012

As uncertainty continues to surround the pursuit of an operating partner for Oklahoma City's first MAPS 3 senior health and wellness centers, some momentum is growing to study whether city residents would be better served with two large centers instead of four small ones.

Not everyone on the Oklahoma City Council is convinced voters will be prepared to accept anything different from what they were originally promised, which is an issue that has already cropped up as MAPS 3 projects begin to move into construction phases.

The council's approval Tuesday of a minor architectural contract related to the senior centers sparked a conversation about how many the city needs.

Some council members and other civic leaders wondered if more investment should be poured into two larger centers to best meet the needs of local residents.

“There's no evidence-based reason why you would need to do four senior wellness centers as opposed to two,” Councilman Ed Shadid said in beginning the discussion. “There's no study or evidence that would advocate four $12.5 million centers as opposed to two $25 million centers.”

Two or four?

The MAPS 3 Citizen Advisory Board's senior health and wellness center subcommittee has struggled to find an operating partner for the first center, rejecting the only two bids that were generated by its first request for proposals.

Since then, the committee has started to produce a second request that is more specific in some areas and more flexible in others.

Part of the discussion has centered on the possibility it might be easier to entice operating partners if they had a larger facility to provide a wider range of services.

But the campaign led by city officials to persuade voters to support MAPS 3 included a plan for four senior centers.

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