Local/Regional News
1:15 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Three Properties Recommended for Senior Citizens Center, Continental Inn Site Not on List

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Three Lexington properties have been recommended for further study to potentially be the next home of the city’s senior citizens center. But the exclusion of the old Continental Inn site on New Circle Road has some Urban County Council members crying foul.

Consultants from Lifespan Design Studio are recommending Turfland Mall, the former site of the Springs Inn on Harrodsburg Road, and the old Kroger grocery store in Beaumont Centre as properties that met criteria for additional analysis. Lexington Social Services Commissioner Beth Mills says each site offers enough space, parking, and accessibility.

“We need 46,000 square feet for a building, we need 200 parking spots. For it all to be on one level, we need 3.8 acres. So you would there’s a lot of property in Lexington that meet those standards. Frankly, there’s not a lot.”

Officials say the current senior citizens center on Nicholasville Road is overcrowded and is not equipped to meet future needs.

Urban County Council members had asked the consultants to consider a vacant lot on New Circle Road at Eastland Parkway that was once home to the Continental Inn. In a presentation to Council Tuesday, consultant Doug Gallow said nearby traffic would be a hazard, especially for older drivers.

“While visiting the site on numerous occasions, we observed cars stopping in the middle of the road because they weren’t able to make their turn, swerving from one side to the other, horn sounding, and avoiding collisions in each one of those cases.”

Council member Kevin Stinnett, whose district includes the old Continental Inn property, disputes that assessment. He says the intersection of Harrodsburg Road and Lane Allen, which is near Turfland Mall and the Springs Inn, experiences a higher number of collisions.

Stinnett is also upset that the consultants’ presentation included crime statistics for the Continental Inn area but no similar data for the properties on the other side of town.

“That is a slap in the face to every North End person who is hard working, who grew up there, who lives there, and who works there to only mention it on the North End,” Stinnett said.

Lifespan Design Studio says it did hold all locations to the same standard of scrutiny and will include more complete information in a final report on potential sites for a new senior citizens center.

A new senior citizens center could cost around $15 million. Once council decides on final sites, phase two of the project will include civil engineering studies, exploration of acquisition and construction costs, design renderings, and community meetings.