Saturday, July 30, 2022

RED OAK COMMUNITY CENTER, "City Of Redmond's Finest"

Attractive "Red Oak Community Center" signage may complement the building's wood design.

Video Tour

City Council recently studied community feedback for naming the new Senior/Community building.  Over 30 comments, including those from seniors were reviewed.  All explicitly stated why they felt the word senior should not be included. The primary reason is that seniors are a vital part of the community, and the name is meant to represent a welcoming and inclusive space of all Redmond residents.

My quick story:  I'm a Baby Boomer.  By eliminating "senior" the community center would be more vibrant and diverse for me.   More community members would  bond to "Red Oak Community Center" than a more generic Senior Center.  According to the city's definition, I've been a senior for 16 years. That's a turn-off.  I'm 71 now ("a gray hair") but I don't consider myself "senior."  I can play pickleball as good as the rest of them.  Other seniors can teach youth computer skills, throw clay, and swap stories.  Kids can teach older members computer and gaming skills. 20-60 year olds could do planned activities with the "seniors."

Are we including the other two community centers?  Are there opportunities for cross-pollination? The President of the Redmond Historical Society (RHS) John Oftebro reminded me of their "schoolhouse community center."  (We play pickleball there too.  Others play ping pong.) RHS members trend older like me.  Could we welcome them and visa versa?  Historical Society membership would grow and become more diverse.  Any ideas for the Marymoor Community Center?  Administrative activities like for solar panel donations?  Something totally different?

Branding:  I think CM Forsythe and Mr. Fields prefer "Redmond" in the name.  How about "Red Oak Community Center" as the header, with a Redmond tagline?  Include Redmond LOGOs at the front desk and on select outdoor signage?  Once inside the Red Oak LOGO may fit into the architectural design (CM Stewart.)  

Throughout community engagement, community members expressed during the design process that the name “Redmond Senior & Community Center” implied that this space was only for seniors and did not feel that their feedback was important to the process. Additionally, senior centers throughout the region have moved toward more inclusive naming such as the Edmonds Waterfront Center to be representative of the community in which it exists.

Redmond's Heritage Northern Red Oak
credit, Yoder

The Parks and Trails Commission discussion on July 7, 2022 focused on whether “Senior” should be part of name but determined that “Community” is inclusive of all the people who would use the center. After discussion, the Planning Commission passed a motion 4:3 in favor of the “Red Oak Community Center.”  It will be going to the City Council for action August 2022.

-- Report & opinion by Bob Yoder, 7/30/2022
    Parks Committee of the Whole memo.

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