Meeting held to discuss future of an Eastern Carolina Senior Center

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WITN) – This morning, a meeting was held to discuss what will remain at an Eastern Carolina Senior Center.

City leaders say the debate sparked after they discussed expanding library artifacts to the second floor of the Grace Martin Harwell Senior Center. But after the large public outcry, they’re re-assessing their plans.

“I heard they were going to close our center, and I come here and exercise four times a week,” said Gail Breed, a Washington Resident.

That rumor grew quickly into a petition and planned protest after word spread that Washington leaders were discussing the future of the Senior Center.

Although city leaders later clarified they only discussed using the second floor to house historical artifacts. Many of the area’s senior citizens fought back saying there simply wouldn’t be room in the building that feels like their second home.

“It’s also a place where you have a sense of feeling of family. We don’t just come and take a class, we come greet others, we find out what’s happening in each other lives – there’s a real personal touch to everything that we’re doing at the senior center,” said Breed.

On Tuesday, Washington City Council Members met with area seniors to try to find a resolution.

After some debate, both the senior citizens and the city manager agreed that the second floor of the senior center would stay as-is.

“I think now, just kinda hearing the public outcry, we will preserve the senior center as it is, and I think we will continue to look at potentially other museum spaces,” said City Manager, Jonathan Russell.

“I’m confident that when it comes time for voting in August that they will go down the bids they’ve received so that’s really exciting,” said Breed.

Even though a resolution was reached at the meeting, Russel’ said there would still be an official vote at the city council meeting on August 7th.