Programs and events will continue at the Hart Park Senior Center despite the departure of facility manager Interfaith Older Adult Programs (IOAP). The Milwaukee-based IOAP managed the facility for the past two years and opted out of its contract effective Dec. 31, 2016.
In a letter from Wauwatosa Mayor Kathy Ehley it was announced that the city is working on ways to improve and maintain the programs and services at the center in 2017 and beyond. The city is conducting a study to determine the future of all of the recreational spaces and programs in Wauwatosa and the senior center is a part of that study. The study began prior to IOAP's decision to discontinue operating the center.
"We want to give time for that study to be completed before we determine how we will provide older adult programs," Ehley said. "(The plan moving forward) is going to evolve."
In the interim, Ehley said they are going to have those involved with the center stay focused on what they have been doing; the same schedule will be kept and the facility will be open for business as usual. She said this transition period will allow for the completion of the study, known as the Active Tosa Plan, and that the process will include public input and should conclude sometime before the first half of 2017.
The center will be closed the first week in January for routine maintenance, according to the letter, and will reopen on Jan. 9. It also announced that the membership fee for the facility will be waived for the first six months of 2017.
The Wauwatosa Recreation Department will temporarily be operating some aspects of the facility; that includes the fee-based classes, volunteer-led activities and the opening and closing of the facility. The Milwaukee County daily meal program will continue and will be managed by lOAP.
Center visitors are urged to check the bulletin board at the center for information because there will not be a monthly newsletter. There will be a bi-monthly calendar that will be sent via email and hard copies of the schedule will be posted at the center and the Wauwatosa Public Library.
The city is seeking volunteers to help with items at the center, like organizing activities, staffing and cleaning. Those interested are asked to call the center at 414-871-8495.
"This is your center," Ehley wrote in the letter. "I appreciate your help, your participation and your cooperation as we transition and move to the next steps."