Jordan (R-Urbana) stopped by the Norwalk branch of the Enrichment Centers for Huron County and the Norwalk fire station Friday morning.
Roxanne Sandles, Enrichment Centers executive director, shared plans to move the Norwalk facility into the former Foodtown grocery store building across from Fisher-Titus Medical Center on Benedict Avenue. The Janotta & Herner design was on display as well as a proposed renovation to the Willard building, which would nearly double the space there.
“The commissioners have asked us to move. We have a plan for a renovation at the (former) grocery story across the street here. We are in negotiations with the hospital — Fisher-Titus (Medical Center), so we’re working on that,” Sandles said.
She asked Jordan if there was funding available for capital projects, noting she has been in touch with state Rep. Dick Stein (R-Norwalk) and state Sen. Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville). Norwalk is included in districts that both state lawmakers represent.
“You can get creative with the capital budget,” Jordan told Sandles. “We will check. My focus is we’ve got a $20 trillion debt and we got to be careful how we use money.”
However, Jordan added if there is money available and “people are competing for grant dollars, we want to fight for our district as much as anyone else.”
“We are always here to do that,” added the congressman, whose 4th District includes Norwalk and the rest of northern Huron County.
Sandles told Jordan that the Enrichment Centers offer programs and services that benefit the entire community, “so you don’t have to be a senior citizen to take advantage of any of those programs or activities.”
“That’s why we’re a community center, as you will,” she said.
Sandles, who gave the congressman a short tour of the ground level of the Norwalk facility, told Jordan that the non-profit organization has been in the current building for 20-plus years. She also said “finding a new home” has been a struggle.
Jordan, after his tour, told the Reflector that senior centers are “very important,” especially considering how many people in the Baby Boomer generation are retiring.
Regarding seeking capital funding for the Enrichment Centers, Jordan said “we will check into it.”
“It seems they have a good argument to make,” he added. “We’ll work with the folks here locally and see if we can figure it out.”
Jane Nottke, an Enrichment Centers board member, said she felt like she was heard. She shared how important the center’s programs and services are with Jordan.
“I felt like it wasn’t 100-percent lip service,” Nottke said later.
Soon after her husband died, she was at the facility four or five days a week. She has taken craft classes and currently is in the quilt club.
“It has been such a godsend. … This is an important part of my (life),” Nottke said. “I have been on trips; I’ve been to (Cleveland) Indians games.”
Also when Nottke had her first knee surgery, she participated in the Meals on Wheels program for about three months. She said the Senior Express service transported her to therapy three times a week.
“It helped me stay independent, which is what I wanted,” Nottke added.
Before coming to the Enrichment Center, Jordan visited the new fire station.
“Very impressive,” he said with a big smile when asked about the facility. “The chief walked us through; we got to see the facility you have there. Plus, the thing that was neat was what the community did to help out. It’s what small towns are all about.”
Jordan also heard about firefighters’ concerns, such as cancer. On Thursday, he and his staff visited the Sutphen Corp. in Dublin, Ohio, which makes fire trucks and ladders.
“They were talking about that as well,” Jordan said, referring to cancer.
“We like to get out and about. Your job is (being) a representative and to be a representative, you’ve got to get out and talk to see folks and see what’s going on in the communities. You get the privilege of representing, so we like to get out and about.
“We’ve been doing that all week long. Today we are in the northern part of the district in Norwalk and then we’re over in Lorain County here a little later,” Jordan added.