Help On The Way For Center That Helps So Many

Grant, town money, donations, businesses will make repairs possible at Payson Senior Center

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More than 125 seniors rely on the Payson Senior Center for meals on a daily basis.

The transportation services provide hundreds of rides to immobile seniors each month -- 719 in the month of August alone.

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The floor in the dining hall/all-purpose room at the Senior Center needs repair and is potentially a hazard to those who use the facility, as can be seen in this photo.

The center hosts activities, congregate meals and provides a place for camaraderie.

The center and its volunteers -- the very embodiments of selflessness --are finally on the receiving end, for a change.

Funding from the state's Community Development Block Grant program, in the amount of $45,000, will be used to repair the stained and battered roof.

Efforts from the town's community development department and chief building official Ray LaHaye have unearthed donations from local businesses to help fix the drainage problem that is wreaking havoc on the center's floors.

The floors will be replaced and sealed to prevent moisture from re-creating the same problem in the future.

The town council unexpectedly approved the disbursement of $80,000 to the center at a meeting last month and offered to contract with the center for services in the next fiscal year.

Hal Baas, Jim Garner and Gene Sampson and councilors Su Connell and Mike Vogel are in the process of working with senior board treasurer Deborah Barber and vice president Paul Bates to construct that contract.

Barber said that the additional funding has helped the center carry out its three biggest efforts -- meals on wheels, congregate meals and transportation.

Meals on Wheels to expand

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Jane Milligan prepares a mid-morning snack at the Senior Center in Payson. Milligan said Bashas' donates food to the Senior Center, just for this type of snack.

The center has been able to add a third route to its meals-on-wheels program. The expanded delivery should begin by the end of October.

"We're able to accommodate all of those on the waiting list," she said.

Barber said the help from the council and the likeliness of pairing with the town in the next year for a defined amount, is relief in itself.

"We have needed to know what to count on each year," she said. "It gives us a solid base to know what services and programs we can provide."

Reed Cox, the center's director, said he was "pleased" that so much effort was being made to help the center.

"It takes funds to take care of people," he said. "That's what we do here -- we take care of people. I think it was great that (the council) was able to find the money."

Cox said the CDBG grant and added funding would help with the building and vehicle maintenance, two of his top priorities.

"Some of the vehicles are quite old and when you run them every day, they have a lot of miles on them," he said.

The roof repair will begin soon after town building officials receive the CDBG funding.

"We're just waiting for funds to be released," said Kevin Krogulski, grants coordinator. "That should happen any day now."

He estimated that the town would have the roofing contract awarded and repairs completed within a couple of months.

"January at the absolute latest, but we're hoping it will be before that," he said.

All of the help the center has received is heartening to Barber.

"It validates what we're trying to accomplish with our programs," she said. "It's good for the seniors to see that there is support for them."

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