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Opening date for Adult Center uncertain

Juno Ogle Photo The Roswell Adult Center remains closed due to concerns about the novel coronavirus and the high-risk age group that frequents the center, but there have been no discussions about permanently closing or selling the center, city officials said Tuesday.

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The Roswell Adult Center, 807 N. Missouri Ave., will remain closed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but city officials said Tuesday there are no plans to close it permanently.

“Those conversations have never come up,” Recreation Manager Marcos Gallegos said Tuesday.

He told the Parks and Recreation Commission the same information during its virtual meeting Monday evening, the first time it had met since February due to the pandemic.

“I’ve never been approached about closing the center. It’s not something I am proposing at all. I do fully intend to reopen the center when it is safe for people,” he said.

Keeping the center closed is out of concern for the safety of its largest demographic of users, he said.

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“If you look at the (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines, the state and federal guidelines, those kinds of things are discouraged at this time. Anybody aged 65 and older are not encouraged to be out and about,” he said.

Carolyn Mitchell, president of the Roswell Adult Center Foundation, said she spoke to Mayor Dennis Kintigh on Monday about rumors the facility would not be reopened and that the city was planning on selling the property.

He assured her neither was true, Mitchell said.

“We are not selling the Adult Center,” Kintigh told the Roswell Daily Record.

“We’ve been doing some cleaning and some minor repairs to the building,” he said.

At this point, Kintigh and Gallegos said, there is no indication from the state when the center might be allowed to open.

Mitchell said she hopes the center can be open again by the fall.

“It’s too late for summer classes. There wouldn’t be anything until fall anyway that we could really get started on,” she said.

The center has provided a daily social outlet for many seniors, she said.

“I can really only speak for myself. I’d love to get back there and be with my friends and my activities,” she said.

Dominoes, yoga, painting, quilting and billiards are among the daily activities the center offered.

“I understand the need for them to get out and for everybody to be out. But we have a duty to do the best we can to protect everybody,” Gallegos said.

“I can’t promise you when it’s going to be, but we will eventually open it,” he said, adding the city wouldn’t put the money and effort into cleaning and repairs if it didn’t intend to reopen the center.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the city to close down its facilities in March, a steering committee and the city had conducted a survey on the public’s familiarity with and use of the Adult Center.

The steering committee was formed after the city postponed plans in September to charge an entrance fee for the center.

Mitchell served on the steering committee and said the survey had been completed, but the pandemic put a hold on moving forward.

“We had just tabulated the results of the survey, but no decisions had been reached when the pandemic hit,” she said.

She said respondents of the survey did not object to fees for classes at the Adult and Recreation Center. Rather than an entrance fee, she said, the committee might consider an annual no-fee membership that would help the city track the facility’s usage.

Such a proposal would have to be the final decision of the steering committee when it meets again. The recommendation would then go to a city committee, which would consider approving it to go before the full City Council. The City Council would have final say on implementing any changes.

Kintigh said because of the uncertainty around health orders from the state, a timeline for any such discussions couldn’t be determined yet.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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