Engage. Empower. Enrich. A Campaign for the Portage Community Senior Center

On September 17, 2019, Portage city leaders announced Engage. Empower. Enrich. A Campaign for the Portage Community Senior Center, an effort to build a new Portage Community Senior Center at 203 East Centre Avenue at an estimated cost of $11 million.

The new center will replace the existing Portage Senior Center at 320 Library Lane. Kalamazoo County has a senior population of 35,000 and the American Association of Retired Persons estimates that 10,000 baby boomers reach retirement age (65) every day. This trend will continue into 2030 and beyond.  More than 7,200 seniors reside in Portage.

The new Portage Community Senior Center will feature a multipurpose room with a capacity to seat 330 people, a courtyard with an outdoor fireplace, an outdoor terrace for warm-weather activities, recreational space for pickleball, basketball and other activities, fitness space, a center promenade for indoor walking, a commercial kitchen, a coffee shop, dedicated space for games and reading, and a health clinic.  The new building will be more than four times the size of the current center and will be available for community use as part of Portage Parks & Recreation programming and through facility rentals

Beginning in 2019, a group of dedicated community leaders began working to raise $5.5 million in charitable gifts as part of this unique public/private partnership with the City of Portage.  The City of Portage has committed to a dollar-for-dollar match of donations, up to $5.5 million. Engage. Empower. Enrich. has raised nearly $5.7 million, including a $1.5 million allocation from the State of Michigan.  The campaign received broad support from more than 325 local foundations, area businesses, and generous community donors, including a $2 million donation from Charles & Lynn Zhang. 

The City Council approved contracts with AVB, Inc. for Construction Management services and with Byce & Associates, Inc. for Architecture & Engineering services. The official groundbreaking for the building was held on September 24. Construction began in earnest in December 2020 and should be complete within budget in the first quarter of 2022.

Donations can still be made using the donate button to the right or by downloading and completing the pledge card to the right.  A pledge card can also be obtained at the Portage Senior Center (320 Library Lane).  A gift of $500 or more entitles the donor to a plaque on the donor wall!