Senior center feels the growth crunch, new facility could serve seniors and the public |

Senior center feels the growth crunch, new facility could serve seniors and the public

by Linda Hiller

It’s no secret that retirees are flocking to Douglas County and the senior center is feeling the crunch because of it.

To that end, those who are involved in the running of the Douglas County Senior Services Center are now looking toward the future with dreams of a new building in a different location with the capability of offering more to the county’s burgeoning senior population.

“Ideally, what we’d like is a facility that could be a combination senior center and community center,” said Community Services Director Scott Morgan. “We could use it in the daytime as primarily a senior center, then in the evenings have it be a community center, with a gym and more.”

Senior Services Supervisor Kathy Maidlow said one of the goals of a new facility would be to have a sizeable adult day care center, where Alzheimer’s patients could be cared for while their primary caretakers got a much-needed break.

Currently, the facility is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and offers lunch for 80-126 people each day. Activities offered include bingo, arts and crafts, exercise other social and educational offerings, health screenings, voter registration, legal assistance, movies and more.

– What it will take. What was once a 2,880-square-foot building in 1975 has been expanded three times since, but even 5,194 square feet is getting crowded these days.

“We’ve doubled in size and we’re starting to outgrow our facility,” said Kathy Maidlow, senior services supervisor. “We’ve been thinking about the need to expand for a year or two now.”

“We’ve expanded as much as we can, but we’re on a flood plain and we have limited parking, so we’ll definitely need to move,” Morgan said.

At 20,000 square feet, the projected center would probably cost at least $2 million for the senior center part alone, but Morgan stresses that raising the money would probably take at least five years and he doesn’t want people to be daunted by the large projected sum.

“It’s a lot of money, so we want to move slowly.We’ll be taking small steps, one at a time,” he said.

Douglas County Senior Services receives its funding from donations, fund raising, Douglas County, as well as state and federal grants. Many of the grants require matching funds, so donations are often doubled as a result of that.

Currently, the popular senior center is located at 2300 Meadow Lane – tucked away at the end of a residential road behind the Gardnerville fire department – and can be hard to get to. An easier, more central site for the new facility would be preferable to something remote, he added.

“We want a new location that is more convenient for seniors,” Maidlow said.

– Got land? Maidlow said one of the ways to defray the cost of the new senior/community center would be to get approximately 2 acres of land in a central Valley location donated to the cause.

“If anyone knows of two acres that could be donated for the new facility, they could call me,” she said. “This month we are working on grants for the architectural aspect of the new center.”

Maidlow said the people involved with the senior center have seen the writing on the wall for more than a year regarding the need for a larger building.

A county commission-appointed advisory committee has been formed to help facilitate making the transition a reality. In addition to Morgan and Maidlow as county representatives and one person from Young at Heart, the senior group who largely made the first center a reality, there are also eight community members on the advisory group, Morgan said.

“We want to create the awareness right now and get the project moving,” he said. “We’re meeting the needs now, but we know it’s just a matter of time. As it is, we’re doing the best we can with what we have for the longest period of time.”

For more information, to donate to the building fund or get involved with the project, call Maidlow at 782-8267.

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