Senior Center Lands $87,000 Federal Grant

Payson also earmarks $121,000 from Community Development funds to help hard-pressed residents repair homes

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The Payson Town Council last week agreed to give the Payson Senior Center $87,000 in federal funds to repair and upgrade its facilities and set aside another $121,000 in federal dollars to help low-income homeowners repair homes in blighted neighborhoods.

Housing Coordinator Bethany Beck said that unfortunately, the complex rules attached to the Community Development Block Grant program limited the number of partners the town could have — which essentially barred a plea for help from Payson Area Habitat for Humanity.

“We’ll need to go to them and discuss the ways we can partner. Unfortunately, we were unable to include them in this application,” said Beck.

The $87,000 grant to the Senior Center will fix up a host of problems with the aging building on Main Street, which not only provides programs for seniors, but also operates the Meals on Wheels program for between 160 and 200 Rim Country seniors and shut-ins who can’t get out to get their meals — or easily fix their own.

The Payson Senior Center gets half of its money from the federal government and the rest from donations and operation of a thrift shop.

The grant will enable the Senior Center to replace its 24-year-old walk-in refrigerator, its 13-year-old dishwasher, its 6-year-old water heater, its food mixer, fire doors and fire curtains to keep kitchen fires from spreading and other items.

The town will use the $120,000 of the federal grant to help low-income residents upgrade their houses.

That could include basic health and safety problems like leaking roofs, sagging porches and structural problems — or making structures more energy efficient.

Homeowners who think they might qualify can apply for grants from the Payson Housing Department.

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