The new Waxahachie Senior Citizens Center is expected to move one step closer to reality.

During tonight’s Waxahachie City Council meeting, the council is expected to authorize the advertisement of bids for the proposed $6 million facility, which will be located on U.S. Highway 77 South, near Dunaway Elementary School in the planned senior living development currently under construction.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. in its chambers of City Hall, 401 S. Rogers. The meeting is open to the public.

“This is the next big step,” said John Hamilton, a member of the advisory committee that has been spearheading the project for the past four years.

City Manager Paul Stevens said if the motion tonight is approved, bids for the center will be received by Oct. 23 with the council voting to award the contract in November.

“This is just going to be fantastic for the seniors in our community to have this facility,” Stevens said. “By this time next year, our seniors should be in the new facility.”

The new senior center initially began as a Centennial Project for the Waxahachie Rotary Club in 2004. Building both coalitions and momentum, the project gained the support of the city, which initially pledged $600,000 for the construction. Developer Ken Mitchell, whose firm is building the planned senior living complex on Highway 77 South, donated land for the new senior center.

“The land is valued at more than $1 million,” Hamilton said.

Earlier this year, the city council approved funding of $3.5 million in the recent bond package and agreed to take on responsibility for the center once the new facility is constructed. The center, currently located in the Optimist building on Patrick Street, is operated as an independent, nonprofit agency.

“It’s amazing how much you can get done when you don’t care who gets the credit,” Hamilton said. “This is very exciting. This has been a dream of a lot of people for a long time and the city is making this a reality. Tonight is the kick-off — in a year we should be in the building.”

Hamilton added members of the advisory committee — a joint panel comprised of representatives of the Rotary Club, senior center and city — will be meeting soon with the Meadows Foundation on a $250,000 grant request which will fund equipment and furnishings for the new center.

“The Meadows grant will ensure that we have all the furnishings, computer equipment for our seniors to access and kitchen equipment needed,” Hamilton said. “We’ll be discussing that tonight as well.”

During tonight’s meeting, several appointments will be considered to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, the Midlothian/Waxahachie Airport Board, Investment Advisory Committee and the Waxahachie Rodeo Grounds board, as well as a member to the Civil Service Commission.

There are also several public hearings on the agenda:

A zoning change from future development to commercial with a specific use permit to allow expansion of The Greenery and for an upscale auto body shop, to be located on the west side of Highway 77 North. A zoning amendment and site plan for additional parking spaces and landscaping at 100 Executive Court on the west side of Brown Street. A zoning change from future development to planned development-single family and preliminary plat for 275 acres on and north of Wilson Road near the intersection with Farm-to-Market 879. A replat for Saddlebrook Estates, located about 1-1/2 miles southeast of the intersection of South U.S. Highway 287 and Highway 287 Business.

In other business, the council will:

Receive semi-annual report on the Impact Fee Program from the Impact Fee Advisory Committee. Separate vote to ratify property tax increase required by Texas Local Government Code Section 102.007 (c). Consider proposed ordinance approving Tax Rate for fiscal year 2007-2008 as required by Texas Tax Code Section 26.005 (b). Consider proposed ordinance approving city of Waxahachie budget for fiscal year 2007-2008. Consider proposed ordinance re-establishing classified positions under Civil Service. Consider amending Section 8.04 of the city’s personnel policy for “Payment of Sick Leave for Retirees.” Consider authorizing negotiations for landscape architectural services, including but not limited to Park School House Road and Broadhead Road. Consider awarding bid for off-site sanitary sewer line for the Robert W. Sokoll Water Treatment Plant. Consider awarding bid for construction of Robert W. Sokoll Water Treatment Plant located north of Butcher Road. Annexation requested by Easthaven Realty Partners LP for a 16-acre tract, a 24-acre tract and a 10-foot wide parcel. The council also will consider a disannexation item as requested by Easthaven. Consider request by IESI and CSC/Republic Disposal andLandfill for a CPI rate increase. Take action on a request from Clyde Hargrove for the city’s acceptance of two parcels of land for a hike and bike trail by the sports complex.

The council is also scheduled to meet in executive session at 6 p.m. relating to IESI Waste Disposal.

According to the posted agenda, council members will discuss pending or contemplated litigation in consultation with the city attorney.