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Published: Monday, 8/25/2014 - Updated: 1 month ago

Oregon weighs best use of levy funds for seniors

Rental site for gym, kitchen considered

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A senior center at the Challenger Learning Center on Seaman Road would have enough space for a kitchen or gym, Oregon official Mike Beazley said. A senior center at the Challenger Learning Center on Seaman Road would have enough space for a kitchen or gym, Oregon official Mike Beazley said.
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Oregon’s new senior services levy is expected to generate about $210,000 annually for five years, and officials are in the process of deciding how the money should be spent.

Last week, Administrator Mike Beazley said the goal was to decide in September what services to add and decide sometime this year what to do about finding more space, beyond the city’s James “Wes” Hancock Senior Center, for those services.

Mr. Beazley said the administration was inclined to rent rather than build, which would cost less and give the city the flexibility to adapt to changing needs. Council would make the final decision, he said.

A site that is to be available to rent is the Challenger Learning Center, 4955 Seaman Rd., owned by the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West. Mr. Beazley called it “a beautiful facility in need of upgrades,” with enough space for “a senior center with a kitchen or gym.”

He made his remarks at a meeting of council’‍s parks and recreation committee. The panel, along with the city’‍s senior advisory committee, has been studying how best to use the revenue from the 0.5-mill levy, which voters passed in November. The millage is Oregon’‍s first tax dedicated to senior services.

About 17 percent of Oregon’‍s 20,233 residents are 65 and older, Mr. Beazley said, and the city “has historically had a higher population of seniors than neighboring communities.”

The center on Bayshore Road has about 150 seniors who regularly use its services, which include transportation-​escort, nutrition and health and wellness programs, fellowship or family respite, recreation, and support services for handling bills, insurance, and other needs. The center receives about $35,000 annually from the city and $63,800 from the Area Office on Aging.

According to an assessment by the Area Office on Aging, Oregon seniors want Medicare counseling and assistance, home-delivered meals, transportation, in-home care, and help doing chores.

A proposed allocation of levy funds would budget $30,000 for outreach and social work services; $40,000 for transportation; $30,000 for expanded health coaching and exercise programs; $20,000 for chore services; $20,000 for meal services, $50,000 for equipment purchases, and $20,000 held in contingency.

Contact Carl Ryan at: carlryan@theblade.com or 419-724-6095.



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