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Fri, Nov. 27

City considers assuming management of senior center

Williams Senior Center employees Cisco Parades (left) and Darlene Foster (right) collect donated food from Williams City Councilman Bernie Hiemenz and Williams Mayor John Moore in March. The city is working toward taking over management of the senior center, which is currently overseen by Coconino County. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

Williams Senior Center employees Cisco Parades (left) and Darlene Foster (right) collect donated food from Williams City Councilman Bernie Hiemenz and Williams Mayor John Moore in March. The city is working toward taking over management of the senior center, which is currently overseen by Coconino County. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — The Williams City Council discussed the possibility of assuming operations for the Williams Senior Center from Coconino County at its Nov. 12 meeting.

Coconino County closed the Senior Center in March in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Many Williams seniors participate in congregate meals and activities at the facility, but are now only able to pick up to-go food.

Although the county currently funds the Senior Center program, the city of Williams owns the facility.

Mayor John Moore said he is interested in having the city take over the operations of the building in support of the seniors. He said the facility is a social center for the senior community, and a place where staff can keep track of a vulnerable population of Williams.

“Our seniors our not happy about the way they feel they’ve been treated,” Moore said. “It’s our town, it’s our senior citizens, and I think we are obligated to take care of them.”

Moore said he doesn’t agree with the policies put in place by the county, and has met with Coconino County officials about the situation.

“We looked at reopening the thrift store in the Senior Center, which the county agreed to open,” Moore said.

He said he met with the Senior Center Board of Directors, who are in favor of reopening.

“One of the suggestions they made was for the city to look at taking over operations of the Senior Center,” Moore said.

Moore said he plans to continue talking to the participants, staff and county about options and funding opportunities. He said he has already heard from some in the community who want to help fund the program.

The center serves more than 4,000 meals each year to homebound seniors and more than 6,000 congregate meals, where seniors can meet and socialize with their peers.

The Senior Center remains closed, however, for anyone 60 years of age or older, take-out meals are available Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. For questions, or to be added to the Meals on Wheels home delivery, contact the Williams Senior Center at (928) 679-7485.

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