The structure is home to the senior citizen center and other public events. It has been shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic started.
After renovations in 2004 and more recently new bathrooms, Mayor Brent Smith said they need to stop spending money to fix it and use the land for something else.
“I don’t think we have the senior citizen activity there,” said Smith.
At a January meeting, the city commission decided to hire an inspector to see if the building is worth keeping. Smith said very few people go to the center and the county will make shuttles available to transport resident to the Niceville senior center.
“The thing about the Niceville senior center is they have to pay if they don’t live in Niceville,” said Valparaiso senior center manager Thomas Jackley. Jackley has been in charge of the center for 11 years and he said the senior center is small but mighty.
Jackley does not want to see the center go: “There are not that many historical buildings in this town anymore. They tore most of them down. And we would like to see them keep this building,” he said.
Members of the community are hosting a “save the center” committee meeting on Jan. 31 to talk through their options. Jackley said if it just comes down to money, they have it.
“700 senior citizens live in Valparaiso and we believe we have enough people to pay,” said Jackley. “We have one person that said they would pay for the repairs.”
According to Jackley, the inspector should be here later this week to say exactly what repairs would be needed to bring the building up to code. The city is set to meet again on Feb. 14 to decide the fate of the building.