Board seeks funding for senior center improvements

FLINT TWP. — Tentative plans have been drawn up to enlarge the Senior Citizens Center and to fix a drainage issue but first the township board has to figure out how to cover the estimated $600,000 cost.

John Gazall, an architect, and Mike Pifer, an engineer, presented drawings to the board for the work. They were consulted in July to examine problems at the center and suggest solutions.

The most urgent problem is a drainage problem that has caused mold issues and floods in the adjacent Genesee District Library branch.

The senior center occupies 60 percent of the building at 2071 S. Graham Road and the library occupies the rest. The township owns the building.

In addition to fixing the drainage issue, Center director Pam Luna also asked the board to consider an expansion of the building and parking lot to alleviate congestion.

Pifer gave a rough estimate of $100,000 to fix the drainage issue and also add extra space to the parking lot and relocate the garbage collection site to keep the heavy trucks out of the parking lot.

Gazall said that about 200 square feet can be added to the existing 8,600 square foot space that would accommodate another 80 to 100 people. He estimated the cost at about $500,000. Part of the expense would come from blending the new with the old including roofing, flooring and siding.

The board took no action the proposals. Trustee Frank Kasle questioned where the township would get $600,000 to fund the project.

Township Supervisor Karyn Miller said that Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding could be used for some of it. CDBG funds were used to build the building in 1979 but block-grant rules have changed since then. Miller also suggested that the board consider taking out a loan to fund the project, similar to what was done to build the police station.

“We don’t have to do this all at once,’’ she said, noting that fixing the drainage problem is the priority.

She said the board would do some brainstorming and revisit the proposal at a future meeting.

Pifer noted that the senior citizen center is getting busier and more crowded as more Baby Boomers come of age and use the center.

The center also shares its activity rooms with the library and other groups needing meeting space, Luna said.

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