FLUSHING — After years of planning—and a helping hand from Flushing Township— the Flushing Area Senior Center (FASC) has acquired a new shuttlebus to transport senior citizens for grocery stops and special trips alike.
Last Thursday, several Flushing Township officials had the chance to check out the new bus, which seats 14 passengers and has its own storage space for equipment. The bus arrived at the FASC on March 19 and is already being used to make runs around town for seniors.
“With the new bus, we’re getting more space and better reliability,” said Greg Matheson, Executive Director for the FASC. “We’re blessed to offer personalized transportation for our members.”
For many years, the FASC relied on a 2007 model bus/ van to transport its senior members to events and shopping runs. Although the older vehicle is currently in good running order, Matheson said that it’s logged over 150,000 miles and has required numerous costly repairs.
“The old van inhibited us from really venturing too far outside Genesee County, but that won’t be the case now with our new vehicle,” he said.
While the FASC had been planning for years to upgrade its transportation, budget constraints made it nearly impossible for the center to purchase a new bus on its own.
That’s when Flushing Township stepped in to help, allocating over $50,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money to help the senior center make the purchase.
“We had planned to use the CDBG money for handicap accessible upgrades for the township hall,” said Flushing Township Treasurer Terry Peck. “But because of COVID, we couldn’t go forward with that. So, Fred (Supervisor Fred Thorsby) suggested that we look into having the CDBG grant diverted to the senior center bus funding.
“Knowing the problems the senior center was having (with the old van), we jumped onboard,” Peck added.
Altogether, Flushing Township covered 80 percent of the $58,000 cost for the new bus, first allocating $45,000 and then including an additional $6,400 that had been earmarked for another project.
The FASC also reimbursed the township for covering the remaining $6,635 for the bus cost.
Matheson said that the senior center is beyond grateful to the Flushing Township Board of Trustees for stepping in and providing the grant money. He also thanked Flushing Township Trustee Sharilynn Willette, who serves on the FASC’s Board of Directors, for helping to advocate for new transportation for the senior center.
“The township has bent over backwards to be supportive of the purchase of the new bus and has taken many steps to help facilitate and see this project through,” Matheson said. “It’s just another example of how supportive this community can be.”
With the new bus up and running, Matheson said that the senior center will once again offer recreational day trips outside the county for its members, as well as grocery store and pharmacy trips for any senior living within the Flushing School District boundaries.