Norwalk Reflector: Will new senior center be built on Shady Lane Drive?

Will new senior center be built on Shady Lane Drive?

Cary Ashby • Jan 20, 2018 at 10:00 PM

The Huron County commissioners are working with Senior Enrichment Services (SES) on the possibility of using county-owned land across from Norwalk High School.

SES is seeking six to 10 acres on Shady Lane Drive. The site would house a new senior center and a utility garage for its 20 vehicles.

“It would be on the west side of the school, closer to Norwood (Avenue),” Commissioner Terry Boose said. “I think that would be fine.

“We would give them that property for as long as they can use that building,” he added. “We still have to work out the details on that. We would flat out transfer the (land) ownership to them.”

Commissioner Skip Wilde, like Boose, sounded positive about possibly moving SES to Shady Lane Drive from the Shady Lane. The commissioners have been outspoken on saying the present building, which also houses veteran services, is old, in extreme need of repairs and they eventually want both agencies out of there.

“We would surely entertain that. … We are in the beginning stages,” said Wilde, who believes Shady Lane Drive would be a good place for the senior center. “We want to do what we can for them.”

SES Executive Director Roxanne Sandles presented a report from the planning committee to the commissioners Thursday.

“Our projection is $4.5 million,” Sandles said, referring to the estimated cost. “We would want to work out a bid shortly.”

Sandles said the agency has 16 vehicles used for Senior Express and Huron County Transit and four for meal deliveries. Senior Express is a donation-based transportation service exclusively for senior citizens while the transit is for public usage.

SES has been seeking places to move, including the former Foodtown building across from Fisher-Titus Medical Center. In January 2017, the SES board rejected accepting a proposed rental contract with the hospital. 

Recently, there was a proposal for SES to build a facility attached to the Ernsthausen Community Center.

“It would (have been) connected to the rec center,” Boose said. “No, it doesn’t seem to be working out.”

Sandles, in a separate interview, confirmed what the commissioner said.

“The board decided not to follow through with that proposal,” said the SES executive director, who was approached by Joe Lindenberger, the Norwalk parks and recreation superintendent, in January 2017.

While a possible agreement with the commissioners over the Shady Lane Drive land is in its infancy, Sandles said SES has a couple other options.

“But we are not privvy to say what those are,” she added.

The initial plan for SES is to figure out where the new senior center will be and then determine the cost and how to raise the money.

“The board is looking at several different options,” said Sandles, referring to funding. “Nothing has been set in stone. They are looking at fundraising options.”

The commissioners plan on working with SES on contract language in the next few weeks.

“They have a couple other properties they are looking at too,” Boose said. “They are still looking at all their options … but they leaning away from Norwalk.”

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