Panel picked to study center Expansion of site for elderly not OK'd

Questionnaires circulated

Ideas on other uses for building sought

May 15, 1998|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

To line dance at the Taneytown Senior Activities Center, elderly participants must move dining tables and chairs to maneuver in the small space.

The elderly might have more room to dance if the County Commissioners agree to expand the facility, which is in part of a former commercial building at 220 Roberts Mill Road.

Thanks to the lobbying efforts of elderly residents and Mayor W. Robert Flickinger, the commissioners have appointed a committee to study an expansion.

The unused part of the building is a storage area without heat, air-conditioning or a sprinkler system. County officials estimated RTC the renovation cost at $400,000.

The commissioners, however, stopped short of committing to financing the expansion.

"I feel like the commissioners want it to happen," said Commissioner Donald I. Dell.

But he cautioned, "I don't want people to think it's absolutely going to happen and then we can't do it."

The study committee will consider other community uses for an

expanded center and will seek suggestions from the community.

Possible uses that have been discussed include an after-school center, where students whose parents are at work could do homework or play games.

Questionnaires are being circulated in Taneytown, and the results will be published in the city's June newsletter.

The committee will hear suggestions from residents at meetings at 3: 30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday at the senior center.

The committee plans to have its recommendations ready to present to the commissioners by June 30, said chairwoman Peggy Sheeler.

She said the committee might need volunteers to help in the renovation and expansion "so we will probably be coming back to the community for help."

County government officials rejected a request to expand the center in 1997, saying attendance was too low to justify adding space.

Regulars say the attendance figures, which are based on the number of lunches served, are misleading. Many elderly people participate in activities but don't stay for lunch, they say.

Program attendance at the Taneytown center averages 15 a day, but varies from nine to 30, officials have said. Ten to 12 seniors a day eat meals there.

"We definitely need a larger senior center. The little bit of room we have now, there are posts. When [the seniors] want to do line dancing, when they want to do tai chi, they bump into the posts," said George Naylor Jr., who represents the Taneytown Chamber of Commerce on the committee.

Naylor said a larger senior center would likely attract more elderly residents.

To demonstrate the space crunch, Flickinger and the elderly invited the commissioners on a tour. They pointed out how the limited space restricts activities such as pool and line dancing.

"The pool room is so tight they can't even get their cue sticks in," Flickinger said at the time.

After touring the facility, Dell agreed.

"Their space is rather limited and there is empty space behind the wall that can be renovated without too much money," he said referring to the storage space.

Pub Date: 5/15/98

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