Baltimore County will provide over $12 million for major senior center projects, including expansion of the Woodlawn Senior Center and construction of a new facility in the northern part of the county.
The funding will be included in County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr.’s fiscal 2022 capital budget, which will be presented to the County Council on April 15.
“Our senior centers are vital community anchors for so many of Baltimore County’s older adults,” Olszewski, who made the announcement about the senior centers’ initiative at a Friday news conference, said in a press release. “As we continue our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we want every senior in every community to have access to a high-quality, modern, and accessible senior center.”
Funding for the initiative includes $4.6 million in state and county money for the existing Woodlawn Senior Center, and $3 million toward a senior center to serve north county residents.
Plans call for improvements to the senior facilities to include fitness centers, reflecting the needs of a growing senior population. An estimated 188,000 seniors reside in Baltimore County, about a quarter of the total population, according to Laura D. Riley, the director of the Baltimore County Department of Aging.
“I’m especially excited about having fitness centers,” Riley said. “One of our main goals is keeping people safe and healthy in the community and a way to do that is by helping them stay fit.” The equipment in the fitness centers will be “senior-friendly,” she added.
Plans call for the Woodlawn Senior Center to undergo significant renovation and expansion, including a 9,200-square-foot addition, renovation of the current 3,600-square-foot site, and various amenities such as a fitness center, new multipurpose rooms, multiple classrooms and handicap-accessible restrooms.
Construction on the expanded Woodlawn Senior Center is expected to begin in the summer of 2022. Once completed, the project will nearly triple the size of the existing center.
Funding for a new north county senior center will cover potential land acquisition, planning and design, according to the news release.
The county is undertaking a study to determine a site for the north county center, county spokesman Sean Naron said.
“This investment will create more equitable opportunities for more of our county’s seniors and will help our neighbors stay active, stay connected, and age in place in the communities where they have lived and raised their families,” Olszewski said.