Davis County senior citizens want to break ground in July for their third center and be "home" for Christmas, but they're still about $250,000 short of construction money.

Plans for the new center, designed to serve central county area senior citizens, were unveiled Tuesday in a luncheon for business and political leaders in the Kaysville Municipal Building, only a few yards from where the center will be built.Kaysville has donated property for the center on a corner of the block in the middle of town that already houses the municipal building, city library, and police and fire stations.

The center is being proposed and financed by Davis County Aging Services, Inc., a non-profit, volunteer group formed for that purpose. It works closely with the Davis County Council on Aging, the county-financed agency that runs the other two centers in the county and coordinates services and programs offered to senior citizens.

Aging Services board chairman Frank Storey said Tuesday the proposed10,000-square-foot center would cost between $650,000 and $700,000 to build.

The group has $400,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant money in hand, plus an additional $70,000 to $75,000 in private donations, Storey said, leaving them around $250,000 short.

Businesses and private individuals are being asked for money, along with the individual cities in Davis County. Aging Services is asking for a one-time donation of $7.50 per senior citizen from each city council, but has had limited success in that bid.

Storey said Davis County will not contribute any construction money but has agreed to take over and run the center, supporting it financially, once it is built. The county operates two similar centers, one in Bountiful and the other in Clearfield.

If Aging Services falls short in its fund drive, Storey said, it could reduce the center's size, but that would be a last resort.

Final architectural plans have been drafted and bids are being solicited now, Storey said, with more than a dozen contractors already expressing interest. Bids will be opened June 23, with construction starting around mid-July and the center ready for occupancy just before Christmas, he said.

Storey said the decision to build the center in Kaysville hinged on several factors, not the least of which was the offer of free land. A search committee found land prices in the central part of the county running from $40,000 to $50,000 per acre, he said, making the 2.5 acres needed for the center costly.

Some other land-donation offers, especially in Layton, were considered, Storey said, but they all had problems that made the Kaysville site appear to be the best.

According to figures from the 1980 census projected to 1987, the county's senior-citizen population - defined as 60 and over - is currently estimated at 16,086, up by 59 percent from the 10,127 totaled in 1980.

This makes senior citizens one of the fastest-growing population segments in the county, board member Jim Young said.

Young said that in the 1950s and '60s, before the advent of senior-citizen programs and support centers, "older people didn't age, they died - often alone and in poor health and in poverty."

Although progress has been made in offering support programs, Young said a gap still exists. Older people are prone to depression and have one of the highest suicide rates in our society, he said.

Senior centers are a place "where people can age productively, often discovering new talents and abilities, where they can age with dignity and even joy."