Upgrades for seniors

Upgrades for seniors

By Matt Mackinder
Clarkston News Editor

Upgrades and improvements will soon be coming to the Independence Township Senior Community Center and Brady Lodge, thanks to the township applying for and being approved for grant money from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Local county leaders joined Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter March 2 in Madison Heights to announce $5 million in grants for 29 senior centers across Oakland County.
The act will fund the grants, which range from $25,000 to $250,000.
As announced at the Feb. 7 Township Board of Trustees meeting, Jennifer Angus, Senior Community Center supervisor, received $231,458.38 in matching funds from this program for capital improvements to both the Clintonwood Park Senior Center and Bay Court’s Brady Lodge facility. Total funding with the 50 percent match is $462,916.76.
“COVID-19 has left the Independence Township Senior Community Center facing increased demands for programs and services,” Angus said. “Since reopening our building in 2021, we have experienced an increase in membership by 50% percent. On average, four programs a day are operated out of the Senior Community Center with an additional 1-2 programs at off-site facilities. Our building can see upwards of 80 patrons on any given day participating in programs and coming in for services.
“Funding from the Senior Center Grant Program will allow us to perform much-needed capital and infrastructure improvements to our heavily trafficked existing Senior Community Center space. Work on and around main the entrance and doors will be done to the Senior Community Center and Carriage House to ensure safe, accessible access to everyone. The interior of the center will receive fresh paint, carpeting and finish work. The outside of the building will see updated work on the gutters and drainage system away from the building.”

Brady Lodge is located at Bay Court Park and hosts numerous events throughout the calendar year. Photo: Matt Mackinder

Capital improvement upgrades for Brady Lodge will include an HVAC system making it a year-round facility, increasing much-needed programable space to help meet the rapidly growing demand for the senior activities the center offers.
The grant also allows for professional development funds to provide valuable training to new and existing staff members of the Senior Community Center who were hired, transitioned, or promoted into new positions because of the pandemic.
Angus also identified the long-term benefits of this program for the community.
“By expanding programming space to meet the growing demand for senior programming and updating existing facilities to maintain and ensure safe, accessible environment for senior programs, activities, and services this grant program will enable the Independence Township Senior Community Center to enhance and expand programs and services to individuals ages 50 and over,” said Angus. “Programs promote fitness, healthy lifestyle, socialization and enrichment through exercise, a wide variety of classes, activities, travel opportunities, annual Veterans 4th of July and Veterans Day luncheon and fundraising events.”
As far as an implementation plan, Angus said a detailed project cost estimate, budget and timeframe on expending funds was submitted indicating how and when the requested and matching funds would be expended.
“Since 2015, Oakland County’s senior population has been greater than the population of children, so it certainly makes sense to invest some of the federal COVID relief funding we received into helping our older residents,” Coulter said. “And what better way to make that investment than providing the funding for upgrades at the county’s senior centers.”
In addition, Springfield Township Hart Community Center will address food insecurity for seniors by upgrading the building, accessibility, and kitchen facility for meal prep for seniors.
“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how important it is that our senior population has a place to go to gather and participate in activities geared towards them along with a reliable source of nutritious meals,” Springfield Township Director of Parks and Recreation Sarah Richmond said. “Our Hart Community Center is this place for our senior community. This grant will allow us to make updates to the facility improving the accessibility and functionality of the building and enabling us to continue to provide services now and into the future.”

TOP PHOTO: Seniors take part in a holiday meal prior to Christmas 2021 at the Independence Township Senior Community Center. Photo: Matt Mackinder

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.