Geauga County Department on Aging is moving senior programs now at the Chagrin Falls Park Community Center in Bainbridge east to a location considered more convenient to other county residents.
Locations under consideration include Bainbridge Town Hall and the Burns Lindow Building at the corner of Chillicothe (Route 306) and Bainbridge roads.
Bainbridge charges rental fees for its facilities and the department on aging has asked the township to consider waiving the fees. The requested waivers at the two buildings would amount to almost $5,000 for January, February and March, township officials said.
“It’s a lot of hours and electricity,” Trustee Jeff Markley said of a rental waiver when the matter was discussed during a Dec. 17 trustee meeting.
Trustee Lorrie Benza said the department on aging is looking in the Bainbridge area and would like to remain in the township. “We need more facts to go with this.” She noted they should talk with Bainbridge Service Director Jim Stanek to get a sense of the programming. “It’s a lot of hours and it takes away the ability from others to use the buildings,” Mrs. Benza said.
Trustees did not make a decision as Trustee Kristina O’Brien was not present at the meeting.
Andrea Pollock, director of the Chagrin Falls Park Community Center, said the department on aging will be moving its main senior center programs from the community center in January. “We were told four to five months ago that they were not going to stay.”
Mrs. Benza said she will be looking for more information on the proposed use by the department on aging of township buildings before making a decision. She also noted the $2,000 being paid by the department on aging for use of the Chagrin Falls Park Community Center will be a loss for that center.
Sandra McLeod, senior center supervisor for the department on aging, oversees the four senior centers in the county. She said the department will continue to offer exercise programs on Mondays at the Chagrin Falls Park Community Center.
Their last day for the full senior center programming was this past Friday. The contract concluded Dec. 31.
Ms. McLeod said daily attendance is down and many seniors feel the Chagrin Falls Park Community Center is out of the way since it is in the furthest southwest corner of the county.
“We certainly want to remain active and serve the senior population in this area,” Ms. McLeod said. “Our search for a permanent home continues, and until then we will utilize the spaces available.
“Seniors are saying they want us to be more centralized,” Ms. McLeod said. “We’re looking for what works for us.”
She noted that the senior center located in Chester was previously in the farthest northeast corner of the county at the Patterson Fruit Farm. It was a fabulous place but they had to move to a more central location which is the West Geauga Plaza in Chester. There is a senior center in Chardon and in Middlefield. Most of the centers increase in members, Ms. McLeod said.
“And we do a home delivery meals service, including from the Chagrin Falls Park Community Center, and it would be easier if the senior center is more centrally located,” she added.
Ms. McLeod said her agency also contacted Kenston Community Education about using space for senior programs.
In Bainbridge, they are hoping to be on the main corridor like Route 306 and in a location where seniors can go to other places, such as stores.
“And people at the Chagrin Falls Park Community Center have been fabulous,” she said, with no negative experiences. “But we need to be centrally located.”