Dexter celebrates a future Multigenerational Community Center


Representatives from the Dexter Senior Center, Dexter Community Schools as well as state and locally elected officials took part in the celebration on Aug. 17 in Dexter. photo courtesy of DCS

Highlighting what the $8.5 million is truly about, local and state representatives as well as community members gathered together on August 17 to celebrate the future Multigenerational Community Center planned for the Dexter community.

Held at the Bates building, the elected officials along with residents, school board members, school staff and others gathered to celebrate the funding decision that will help establish a new Multigenerational Community Center. Earlier this summer, local legislators were able to secure $8.5 million for this community center from the recently signed “Make it in Michigan” budget for the new fiscal year.

Those on hand included: State Rep. Jennifer Conlin (D-Ann Arbor Township), State Rep. Carrie Rheingans (D-Ann Arbor), State Sen. Sue Shink (D-Northfield Township), Dexter Mayor Shawn Keough, Dexter Community Schools Superintendent Christopher Timmis, Scio Township Supervisor Will Hathaway, Jim Carson of the Dexter Senior Center as well as others from the senior center.

Each person who spoke, Timmis, Shink, Rheingans and Conlin, expressed their thanks and gratitude at the news of this budget decision.

In a letter to the community about the celebration, Timmis said as part of the 2023-2024 state budget, an allocation of $8.5 million was allocated to Dexter Community Schools to support a permanent home for the Dexter Senior Center and to create a community center. Specifically, the legislative language in the official state budget states, "the purpose of the project is to renovate and establish programming for a senior and community center."

Shink said this is a really big deal as it will help address the needs across different generations in the community, including older adults, who are one of the fastest growing populations in the county.

“We’re supporting lifelong learning, lifelong well-being, and lifelong belonging,” Shink said.

She said the community center will enable interaction between generations while also providing important programs for all ages.

Rheingans emphasized that part as well.

“This is for all ages in the community,” Rheingans said and added that it will provide year-round opportunities for kids and families.

Conlin said, “Making investments in local communities that will bring people together — that’s what a budget should do. I’m extremely proud that my colleagues and I were able to secure the funding for this community center, and I can’t wait to see the final product.”

It was announced by Shink’s office in July that the Michigan legislature passed bills that provide $8.5 million in funding for a Dexter multigenerational community center. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell is also pursuing additional funding for this project.

In his letter to the community, Timmis said the school district boundaries define the “Dexter community.” Dexter Community Schools serves students and the community throughout an 84-square-mile school district in both Washtenaw and Livingston counties. The district boundaries encompass the city of Dexter plus parts of 8 other townships including Dexter Township, Webster Township, Scio Township, Northfield Township, Hamburg Township, Lima Township, Freedom Township and Lodi Township.

“This is a very unique opportunity for our school district, the Dexter Senior Center, our students, our staff, and our families,” Timmis said. “While we do not have many details at this point, a Dexter Multigenerational Community Center will be a reality in the near future."

He said they will share details of the larger project once they know more.

“At this time, we just want to take some time and celebrate this incredible gift to our community,” said Timmis.

Details on the funding and process will not be available until October of this year along with the timeline and allowable uses of the funding.

At the last DCS school board meeting, the board approved establishing an ad hoc committee to work on the multigenerational community center project.

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