Enumclaw’s Senior Center manager Jobyna Nickum goes through some paperwork with a center member in her new ADA-accessible office. Photo by Ray Miller-Still

Enumclaw’s Senior Center manager Jobyna Nickum goes through some paperwork with a center member in her new ADA-accessible office. Photo by Ray Miller-Still

Enumclaw Senior Center facelift boosted by grant from county levy

Much of the $94,000 went toward making the building more ADA accessible and other capital improvements.

The Enumclaw Senior Center has undergone a notable facelift and is now more inviting for visitors, better prepared to serve its clients and a better place for staff to carry out their duties.

Jobyna Nickum, who has guided the center for the past 28 years, offered a remodeling report during a recent gathering of the Enumclaw City Council.

The Cole Street building had major design issues, she said, harkening back to the days when the structure housed a garment manufacturing operation; or, prior to that, when it was used for automobile sales. Nickum noted how the building was not in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and lacked some essentials that come with serving an older clientele. She related how seniors might have their nails clipped in the manager’s office, how food and cleaning supplies were stored side-by-side in the main office and how meetings wound up being too-crowded affairs.

“It was like a big family living in a small house,” is how she described conditions to the council.

Relief came with passage of King County’s Human Services, Seniors and Veterans Levy. The 2017 measure was approved on a countywide ballot, providing money for projects on many fronts.

Nickum knew the Enumclaw Senior Center was in line for $75,000 but was given the leeway to submit a grant request for $96,000, which was approved. The bulk of the money — $64,000 — was earmarked for capital improvements; the rest was divided between efforts to increase participation ($10,000) and “update organization infrastructure” ($10,234). In addition, $12,500 was allocated to help educate seniors about the county’s program that allows seniors to remain exempt from certain tax obligations.

The money has now been spent, she reported, adding that projects were carried out with the help of city employees, the patience of senior center attendees and the positive attitude of center staff.

The biggest change came with a decision to convert some of the space in the large front area to an office. While the square footage available to senior guests has been reduced, Nickum said, the result is a much cozier setting.

“I know it might be hard to believe, but for the 44 years the Senior Center’s been in operation we never met ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements,” Nickum said, adding those federal guidelines are “kind of important when you deal with seniors and people with disabilities.”

Prior to receiving the grant, the center had one office that was crowded and allowed little privacy for seniors wishing to speak with staff.

With recreation programming and van services moved to the lobby, Nickum shifted into space that is ADA compliant – something she lacked before. Her old office has become a wellness room and offers a private space for foot care, dental exams, counseling, massage and more.

New, efficient lighting was installed to replace lights from three decades ago and windows received new draperies and blinds. An old sign-in system, which had been in use since Nickum began in 1991, has been replaced with a computerized system.

Outside, a fence was installed around the parking lot, alleviating some safety concerns, and a sign was installed.

Happy to have received funding and admittedly pleased that all the work is completed, Nickum is ready for the next hurdle. Coming up is a window of opportunity for next year’s grants and she is aiming for money to help with outreach efforts into Enumclaw’s senior community.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

A Plateau resident gets his first COVID vaccine at Dr. Becker's clinic on Friday, April 23. Photo by Ray Miller-Still
Where, when and how to get a COVID-19 vaccine on the plateau

The Courier-Herald has compiled a list of local pharmacies offering the shot, and how to get it.

Image courtesy PHI
Too early to tell whether flattening COVID-19 curve will continue | DOH

It’s starting to look like the number of positive cases are flattening, but wearing masks and getting vaccinated is sti;; crucial.

Blotter bug
Black Diamond police blotter | April 19 – 25

“Donuts” in the lake, an online bait-and-switch, and a broken stop sign.

From left to right: Peggy Wenham, Toby Wenham and Sheree Schmidt stand for a picture outside Sweet Necessities on Griffin Avenue. Photo by Alex Bruell
For sale: Enumclaw candy shop Sweet Necessities looks for a new owner

Co-owner Toby Wenham is joining his wife Peggy in retirement from their twin Enumclaw businesses

The Buckley Multipurpose Center, where the city council meets.
Buckley council passes bills improving city website, subleasing property

The city council meeting April 27 also saw discussion on how the city digitizes documents

Governor Jay Inslee. Sound Publishing file photo
New laws will tax the rich, offer aid to low-income workers

Inslee signs bill creating capital gains tax; foes are challenging it in court as unconstitutional.

Jimmie was happy to get his first shot in Skyway in April, 2021. Photo courtesy Public Health Insider
King County remains in Phase 3: What that means for our community | Public Health Insider

Over 90 percent of residents age 65 and older have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

"A man takes out a plastic bag from a pocket with a dose of cocaine or another concept of drugs." Photo courtesy Marco Verch, licensed under CC BY 2.0
State Supreme Court’s drug possession decision changes laws on the Plateau

Enumclaw is likely to adopt a new law decreasing the penalty of drug possession from a class C felony to a misdemeanor.

Washington state case count since March 2020. WA Governor's Office
Pandemic pause: King County remains in Phase 3

No Washington state counties will be rolling back their phase under the… Continue reading

Most Read