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OREM SENIOR CITIZENS LOOKING FOR A PLACE THEY CAN CALL `HOME’

SHARE OREM SENIOR CITIZENS LOOKING FOR A PLACE THEY CAN CALL `HOME’

The city's senior citizens say they just can't have much fun now that their center has burned down and the fee for using the city's recreation center has increased by 700 percent.

Dozens of senior citizens concerned about the price increase and the construction plan for a new center attended Tuesday's City Council meeting.The new senior citizen center will not be ready for at least a year, and the seniors may not be able to meet at a temporary location in the meantime unless the insurance company can pay the bill, said Daryl Berlin, city manager.

The city has been unable to find a temporary site for exercise classes and other activities, Berlin said. Daily lunches are still being served to senior citizens in the City Center's multipurpose room.

The Orem Senior Citizen Center, 100 N. 400 East, was destroyed a month ago by a fire started in the center's northwest office. The cause is not certain, but electronic devices may have been responsible, said Stan Sainsbury, deputy city attorney.

Demolition of the building's walls will begin in August. The structural integrity of the rest of the building will be checked to determine if the floor or basement can be salvaged, Sainsbury said.

The city may rebuild the same building or alter the design, depending on the needs and views of the Senior Citizens Commission, Berlin said.

While senior citizens' most popular gathering place remains in ruins, another recreational facility has become too expensive for many to afford.

The Orem Fitness Center has increased its annual pass for senior citizens from $18 to $125 effective July 1.

In the past, senior citizens have been able to purchase a limited pass that allows them to use the facility during slow hours. The new pass is unlimited and can be used at any time.

Gene Sorensen, 926 N. 750 East, presented the council with a petition signed by about 90 senior citizens protesting the increase.

"An increase of 700 percent is not prudent," he said. "The increase may eliminate nine out of 10 seniors."

Mayor Stella Welsh said the council would review the price increase.

"This may be one we are willing to fine tune," she said.