It hasn't been easy for Oklahoma City to entice any of the big local fish in the wellness industry to bite as operating partners of the MAPS 3 senior centers. But a city subcommittee is considering baiting the hook with a possible subsidy.
The MAPS 3 Citizen Advisory Board's senior wellness center subcommittee met Wednesday and started to refine a new request for proposals for potential operating partners for the first center. The first request brought in only two proposals, neither of which was accepted by the subcommittee.
Subcommittee members, consultants and other city officials have spent recent weeks interviewing a broad range of health care and wellness providers in the metro area to explore what changes to make to get better bids. Among concerns potential partners expressed was a worry about operating costs without a subsidy, particularly on aquatic elements, and a desire for more specific guidelines on the target audience.
“What we're trying to do is get as wide of an interest as possible,” subcommittee chairman Michael Dover said. “We want to make this work.”
The wellness centers were marketed to voters as including an aquatic element during the city's MAPS 3 ballot campaign, and the centers proved to be among the most popular projects. But the high labor and maintenance cost of pools has been a big contributor to projected operating costs giving wellness providers pause, consultants told the subcommittee.
But those same wellness providers conceded the aquatic elements would be a big part of the draw for local seniors. Subcommittee members have expressed a strong preference for bids that include pools, but haven't yet made that a requirement.