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Published: Wednesday, 1/26/2005

Walbridge: Renovations would benefit seniors

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

To ensure that Walbridge's senior population will always have a place to go in the village, Walbridge Village Council plans to set aside funds to renovate a seldom-used building in Loop Park.

The village's senior center operates out of Main Street Church, 705 North Main St., which has been for sale for about 18 months, said Lynda Blandin, administrative assistant for the church.

She said church officials plan to build a church on State Route 795 between East Broadway Street and Luckey Road as soon as the Main Street church is sold.

After the church is sold, the seniors would need somewhere to participate in activities, exercise, and crafts they enjoy at the church, said Denise Niese, executive director of the Wood County Committee on Aging.

They also would need a place to receive about 50 hot lunches provided for them five times a week through the committee on aging, according to Mayor Dan Wilczynski.

In case the old church and newly built church are no longer possibilities for those activities, Mayor Wilczynski said village officials plan to set aside $10,000 this year, $20,000 next year, and $30,000 the following year to give Loop Park's one-story building a face-lift to convert it into a senior center and a community center.

"We worked hard to keep this money in the budget," he said. "Based on our planning, I don't think this will be a problem."

The building's inside consists of a single room with a concrete floor measuring about 4,000 square feet.

Mayor Wilczynski said residents can rent the structure for events, but they take advantage of that only about 20 times each year.

The mayor said the next step would be for Village Council to outline several long-term goals to complete the renovations and put together a plan outlining the phases of the face-lift.

"We have a large senior population, and we need to give something back to those folks," he said.

Although there is nothing set in stone when it comes to where the senior center might be located in the village, Ms. Niese said it's good to see that Walbridge officials are exploring the possibilities.

"It's always good when a community is supportive of their older, adult populations," she said. "That is something that they need to be given credit for - that they're being proactive."



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