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Senior Center Seeks City, County Funds

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By Joe Foreman, Editor

The board of directors at the Glenwood Senior Center are reaching out to the Mills County Board of Supervisors and Glenwood City Council in hopes of getting financial assistance to help cover the facility’s daily operating expenses.
    

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Senior Center board president Bonnie Millsap said rising utility and insurance costs have put a strain on the Senior Center’s budget and the volunteers who run the facility are finding it increasingly difficult to meet their financial obligations.
    

“We did have a cushion, but the costs for utilities and insurance have gone up,” Millsap said. “We don’t have that cushion anymore.”
    

Millsap said the Glenwood facility is unique to southwest Iowa because the Senior Center owns the building it occupies. In most communities, she said, the senior center is located in a municipal or community building.
     

Glenwood’s Senior Center is located in the former Masonic Temple at 20 N. Vine St. on the northeast corner of Town Square. The Senior Center purchased the 39-year-old building in 2007 with the help of memorial funds and donations.
    

Millsap said the Senior Center relies on donations, fundraisers and rental of its social hall to generate the majority of its revenue. The center also gets a portion of the enrollment fees charged for exercise classes taught at the facility.
    

Millsap said revenue has declined over the past year while operational costs have gone up.
    

“We’re averaging about $1,200-$1,300 a month going out,” she said. “Every month, we’re going to try to do a fundraiser to keep things going.”
    

She said future fundraisers being discussed include a salad luncheon on March 21, a garage sale later in the spring and possibly a food stand at the Brews, Blues and BBQ event at Glenwood Lake Park on July 4.
    

Senior Center manager Ted Smith said money isn’t available to make improvements or address major maintenance issues.
  

 “The money we take in goes toward our overhead,” Smith said.
 

About 50 patrons utilize the Senior Center on a regular basis. A 50-cent cup of coffee and free pastries are available in the morning and lunch is served over the noon hour. There is a minimal charge for the lunch, but any profits from the meals go to the Connections Area Agency on Aging.

Millsap said many of the Glenwood-area residents that come to the Senior Center for a noon meal stick around to play cards, cribbage or dominoes in the afternoon.

“We’re an asset to the community and we need to stay open,” she said.

Glenwood city administrator Brian Kissel said to his knowledge, tax dollars have never been allocated for the senior center’s operational costs and consideration wouldn’t be given without the city having a clear understanding of the Senior Center’s financial situation and long-term viability.
 

“I don’t think it would be in our best interest to just cut them a check without knowing their financial situation,” Kissel said.

Ron Kohn, a member of the county board of supervisors, said the Senior Center’s request was discussed, but it’s unlikely funds would be allocated for operating expenses.

“Our main concern is that we have not contributed to operating costs in the past,” Kohn said.  

Kohn said the county has designated local option sales tax dollars for specific projects in the past, including carpeting at the Senior Center.