The city's Finance and Personnel Committee voted to offer the Friends of Seniors a two-year lease extension in the former Lakeside Community Center at 201 Goold St. The Friends pay the city $20,000 a year to rent the space; they also cover utilities and have made improvements to the building since taking it over in 2004.
Dick Hinsman, of the Friends of Seniors, appeared before the committee Monday to request a lease extension. The Friends' lease is up in April or May, Hinsman said.
The committee's main discussion was whether to give the Friends a one or two-year extension. Alderman Jim Spangenberg, chair of the committee, said Mayor John Dickert favored a one-year extension.
The committee added a second year to the lease after committee members reported the Racine Zoo appeared to have lost interest in the building.
Hinsman said the two-year lease will help the Friends increase its membership because it shows stability for the senior center. He added that if another opportunity comes along - like a regional senior center for eastern Racine County - the Friends can leave the city's building with a 30-day notice.
Not that that's likely. Hinsman said he's been trying to get Racine, Caledonia, Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant officials together to discuss a regional center for the past year, but no one seems interested.
For now, he said, the Friends are happy at the Belle City Senior Center.
"1,100 seniors thank you," Hinsman told the Finance and Personnel Committee after its vote.