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Center’s gala to jump-start capital campaign

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by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

The push is on for staff and volunteers with the Sequim Senior Activity Center to find funds for their proposed new facility, first announced nearly two years ago.

 

Margaret Cox, fundraising chairman for the center, said they are looking to jump-start their capital campaign again with a gala fundraising banquet and auction on April 27 at the Sequim Elks Lodge.

 

Michelle Rhodes, trips and programs director at the center, said this is their first effort to reach out to the community because a majority of their funds to purchase the property at Lofgrin Road and Washington Harbor Loop came from the center’s current membership, nearing 1,800.

 

“We not only want to meet the needs of our members with the property but the community with it,” Rhodes said.

 

Tickets are $50, with half of the cost tax-deductible, and can be purchased by 4 p.m. Thursday, April 19 by calling or visiting the center.

 

The event includes more than 50 silent auction items, such as jewelry, gift certificates, baskets, art and event tickets. A live auction includes trips/excursions such as a hot air balloon adventure and a fitness package.

 

“Items range from $20 and up and people don’t need to have a lot money to come and have fun,” Cox said.

Next stage

Michael Smith, executive director of the center, said money from the event helps with the capital campaign for architectural design.

 

He said previous donations have helped put the center in the final stages of acquiring an additional 1.285 acres debt-free from the Department of Transportation next to its new property for a total of 5.78 acres.

The additional property wasn’t available at the time of purchasing the other property.

 

Smith said their next goal is to get a rendering of the proposed new center, identify the layout of rooms and create fundraising opportunities for people to pay to have rooms named after them.

 

No plans are set for the building, Smith said, and the organization is open to suggestions.

 

The proposed new center’s site plan includes 140 parking spaces with landscaping in between. The City of Sequim’s update to its Critical Areas Ordinance led the center tentatively to move its 7,900-square-foot wetland west and increase it in size to about 12,000 square feet.  

Finding space

Rhodes said the center’s current facility runs into space constraints every day and that people can’t go across the building without interrupting other activities.

 

“The building just doesn’t work and we can’t do anything about it here,” she said.

 

One trend she and others are seeing is a younger audience coming to the center.

 

“There’s a perception that you have to be old or older to do things here, but we see a lot of people come in to do yoga, computer classes, belly dancing and aerobics,” Rhodes said.

 

Due to The Buzz closing, the center hosts open-mic night at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

 

Membership is open to anybody, but people must be 50 or older to vote on board matters or to be members of the board.

 

Suggestions for the new center can be sent to Smith at sequimsr@olypen.com or by calling 683-6806.

 

Visit www.sequimseniorcenter.org for more information.

 

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