Michael Dover knows senior residents of Oklahoma City appreciate what the MAPS programs have done for Oklahoma City.
But he also knows that, when it came to the third version of MAPS, they wanted something specifically to benefit them.
Sure, seniors use Bricktown and Chesapeake Energy Arena and other things built with MAPS money.
But seniors saw unmet health, fitness, social and educational needs in Oklahoma City, and they wanted that addressed in MAPS 3.
“As a state and as a community, we have a long way to go to make the community a healthier place to be,” said Dover, chairman of the MAPS 3 senior wellness centers subcommittee.
MAPS 3 includes about $50 million for four senior wellness centers around Oklahoma City.
Construction is expected to begin on the first of the centers next year, and officials are deep in planning for the first one.
The challenge for this spring is to firm up offers from around the community to serve as primary and secondary partners with the city to operate the centers.
The YMCA and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department are strong contenders to be among the first, and a host of senior services providers, libraries and other organizations have also expressed interest.
The goal is to have four unique centers arrayed around Oklahoma City, and for each one to provide a mix of core services available at all four facilities along with services or activities designed to make that particular center stand out.
“We don’t want to have cookie cutter wellness centers,” Dover said.
“All of the centers wouldn’t be exactly alike. We want them to have different strengths.”
City staff also want to make sure the centers are best set up for operational success by not stepping on others’ toes.
“It’s important to provide services that aren’t available elsewhere so we’re not competing with potential partners,” said city Public Works Director Eric Wenger, who has a key role in MAPS projects.
Building the centers will span most of the MAPS 3 program, which finishes at the end of the decade.
But city officials hope seniors will be able to walk into one of the centers for the first time sometime next year, and open a door to a building built with their tax dollars that’s specifically for them for the first time.