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Senior center gains funding for land, eyes

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The Sequim Senior Activity Center secured full funding for a plot of land thanks to a generous private donor.

R. Leo Shipley gave $218,542.81 to the center, bringing the total donations to $292,427 so far, Executive Director Michael Smith said in a news release.

The donation was announced at the center's

Independence Day Barbeque.

In April the center won a bid for 4.48 acres of land on the Discovery Trail near Washington Street and the Simdars Road exit. The center bid $218,542.81, Smith said.

This site originally was meant to be a rest area but the plans were canceled and the property was declared a surplus by the Department of Transportation and put up for sale.

The property was purchased to build a new facility because the heavily used center on 1.1 acres at 921 E. Hammond St., which is a remodeled warehouse, is not large enough.

Smith said the center is grateful for Shipley's generosity, which enables the center to have funds on hand for the next steps of the building process. They also are now able to purchase the land debt-free, he said.

Shipley, 84, is a life member of the center and owns and manages Baywood Village. He is a retired school teacher and developer, and has lived in Sequim more than 30 years, Smith said.

Smith has said he'd like the new center to be two stories tall, with views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and 140 parking spaces.

Depending on fundraising efforts, construction could start in five to six years, he said.

When the new building is finished, the current building and parking lot will be sold, with proceeds going toward construction loans or a mortgage, he said.

The center continues to seek donations for the building, he said.

Sequim Senior Activity Center is a nonprofit organization, so donations are tax deductible.

Call 683-6806, see www.sequimseniorcenter.org or visit 921 E. Hammond St., Sequim, for more information.

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