Geauga County Department on Aging continues to search for a permanent location for its senior center in Bainbridge after moving most of its activities out of the Chagrin Falls Park Community Center in the western edge of the township.

“We are in search of a permanent home,” said Sandra McLeod, senior center supervisor. A centralized location along the Chillicothe Road (Route 306) corridor is the most desired where it would be close to shopping and other services, she said. In addition to Bainbridge, this location would also serve residents in Russell and South Russell.

She noted that attendance was declining at Chagrin Falls Park because it was too far away.

The Gardiner Center owned by the Kenston Local School District is an ideal location, she said, but “they said no, so we have to find something else.”

Kenston Superintendent Nancy Santilli said while Kenston owns the Gardiner Center, Kenston Community Education uses the building for programs and offices. “We are in partnership with KCE. The feeling was they couldn’t take on the responsibility (of another group’s activities) within their organizational structure.”

Kenston Board of Education President Beth Krause said the Gardiner Center has to be kept flexible to the immediate community.

The department on aging also has locations in Chardon, Chester and Middlefield offering educational programs, life-long learning, entertainment and services including meals. All these services are funded by a Geauga County Senior Services levy approved by county residents.

Ms. McLeod said the department on aging has individuals who assist the senior residents with taxes and there are lawyers there. “We serve meals and home delivered meals operates out of the center. Health and exercise programs are held as well. Our needs are multi-faceted. We do need a kitchen.”

Some have suggested approaching area churches, but Ms. McLeod said her group needs a kitchen to serve meals, one of the group’s vital functions. Most churches don’t want the center to be the sole tenant or to take over the kitchen, Ms. McLeod said.

“We are willing to share space with other organizations,” she added.

Every three months, the department rebooks its dates at the Bainbridge Town Hall and the Burns Lindow Building.

In previous discussions, Bainbridge Township trustees said when buildings are used extensively, the township incurs costs. But on Jan. 28, trustees agreed to waive 50 percent of the rental fees for the Burns Lindow Building and the Bainbridge Town Hall for the period of January through March. The department on aging will pay $720 for the Burns Lindow Building and $910 for the town hall for that period.

The average daily attendance at the Bainbridge senior center currently is about 19 people. “We would like a place that could accommodate about 30 people and one that is handicap accessible with kitchen space. It has to be all encompassing.

“There are a lot of seniors in that area and they deserve a place,” she said.

Ms. McLeod said the department is looking throughout the area, including at the Bainbridge Library. “I’m not giving up,” she said

Bainbridge Trustee Jeff Markley noted at a recent Township Trustees meeting that they continue to steer the department on aging to places like the Bainbridge Library and churches on the Route 306 corridor. It would be a good time now to communicate with the Geauga County Public Library as the new library is being planned, he said.

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