With plans for a new activity center on the horizon, Rosemount senior citizens are planning more programs and events to accommodate their growing numbers.

Pending City Council approval in March, construction will begin this spring on a senior housing development next to the Steeple Center near downtown Rosemount. The project will include a city-owned activity center designed to hold classes and events.

"Our goal is to expand those services," said Parks and Recreation Director Dan Schultz.

Schultz has been working with senior-focused groups in the city, including the Rosemount Area Arts Council (RAAC) and the Rosemount Area Seniors, on plans for the center.

The project includes a 90-unit assisted-living and memory-care building and the attached 5,000-square-foot center. The center will include rooms for classes and a small cafe, Schultz said.

RAAC currently holds some senior-focused classes in the Steeple Center, but John Loch, program chairman for the group, said the space isn't large enough to hold all its programs.

"We've really been limited up to this point," Loch said. "We want to make life enjoyable for the seniors."

He said he hopes the center will allow for more classes that are popular with seniors, such as painting and photography.

"I think our classes will evolve quite a bit," he said.

The center could also be used for community programs, such as exercise and yoga classes, Loch said.

But Sharon Johnson, president of the Rosemount Area Seniors, said the group would like to have the building be used primarily by seniors.

"We've talked about it for a long, long time," she said. "I know we all want a senior center."

The senior group now meets and holds events at the Rosemount Armory, but it isn't given storage space so they constantly have to carry things back and forth, Johnson said.

Rosemount Community Development Director Kim Lindquist said the center will mostly accommodate seniors, but the city wanted to make it a community place where various activities and events could be held.

The city has had a rocky history with senior housing; this is the third developer to take on the project. But Lindquist said the current plan will likely be successful because the developer, Stonebridge Communities of Apple Valley, has worked on other senior housing projects in the south metro area.

"I think they're a little more comfortable with the market and know more about it," Lundquist said.

Lundquist said the city estimates the center will cost between $1 million and 1.5 million, with funding coming from the city's Capital Improvement fund.

Because the center will be owned and operated by the city and will require a public bidding process, construction will likely begin in June or July, Lindquist said.

A public hearing on the project will be held on Tuesday at City Hall.

Meghan Holden is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.