History of Northshore Senior Center
The Birth of a Dream: In 1972 a small group of senior citizens gathered in the Bothell Odd Fellows Hall to form a group they called the Senior Apollos. They dreamed of the day when seniors would have a building of their own, offering a full schedule of services, activities, and programs. Getting started took awhile and it was two years before this group could hire a director to help achieve their dreams.
In 1974 the club, now known as Northshore Senior Center, came under the auspices of the Northshore Recreation program. Activities took place in classrooms of Anderson School. A few years later the Senior Center was sponsored by the Northshore Multi-service Center where it shared space with a number of organizations. In 1977 Northshore Senior Center listed a total of 60 volunteers and in that year the Center received partial funding from King County.
The City of Bothell owns a historic building known as the Lytle House which had stood in downtown Bothell since 1882. In 1983 Lytle House was moved to the Park at Bothell Landing and became the home of Northshore Senior Center. Lytle House had 1,200 square feet which later was doubled in size. It remained the Center's home until the fall of 1992.
In 1982, Northshore Senior Center joined Senior Services of Seattle/King County. In 1983 the Center hired Marianne LoGerfo as director. At that time the Center had 800 members and an annual budget of $81,532.
Under Marianne's direction, with the help of a small staff and hundreds of volunteers, the Center grew rapidly. It soon ran out of space and was scattered in a total of 11 satellite locations. Yet, with all of these, the center did not have enough room!
No record of the Center's early years would be complete without recognizing its pioneer members whose stalwart efforts made possible our present achievements. A few of these names are Hattie Anderson, Mary Kanski, Ruth and Wallace Bartholomew, Helen and Percy Bell, Thelma and Sid Feiwell, Jean and Perry Gundrum, Marion Ransopher, Maxine and Con Schmidt, and Bertha and Al Sells. The complete list would number in the hundreds. Northshore Senior Center owes an unpayable debt to all its early volunteers.
The Dream Realized: In 1986 the Center began its search for new and larger quarters. First a 25-person Strategic Planning Committee was formed composed of Senior Center members and leaders of the area's business community. This Planning Committee researched potential building sites, funding methods and many other factors. During the following five years this original group expanded into 12 working committees with nearly 500 volunteers to plan and execute various parts of the campaign for a new building. Invaluable assistance was provided by elected officials including Maria Cantwell, Audrey Gruger, Jeanine Long, Karen Miller, Louise Miller, Pat Pierce, and Sue Walsh.
The Planning Committee learned about Park and Recreation Service Areas which have the power to issue voter-approved bonds. Center and County staff engineered a change in state law so that these districts would also have the power of eminent domain. Then staff and the Planning Committees had to convince the political entities within the Center's service area that this new Senior Center building was both needed and practical.
Northshore Senior Center volunteers, under the leadership of Lenn Width telephoned and doorbelled every registered voter in the Northshore School District and asked them to vote for two measures. The first vote was to form the Northshore Park and Recreation Area.
The next ballot measure was a $3.6 million dollar bond issue for construction of a new senior center. Both formation of the tax district and the bond issue won approval by 76%! This was not by seniors only. 76% of all voters approved our bond issue. With the help of the Boeing Employees Good Neighbor Fund, broad community support, and the center's own fundraising activities, another $500,000 was raised for equipment and furnishings.
Then began the tremendous task of designing the Center's new home. Searching for good ideas, the architects and Center volunteers visited most of the senior centers in King and Snohomish Counties. The Center's membership was continually involved in the planning process. The planners surveyed every class and every activity at the existing location. Comments were invited from the membership, and the planners evaluated nearly 1,000 individual suggestions and requests.
In designing the new Center, much emphasis was placed on flexibility and multiple uses of space. Colors were selected to provide restful harmony. Rugs, fabrics, and fixtures were selected to provide many years of use. The success of these efforts can be seen by anyone who visits the completed facility.