Oregon is looking at partnering with one of the hospitals in Oregon to provide services to seniors.
Currently, the James “Wes” Hancock Senior Center on Bay Shore Road provides programs for seniors, though the facility, a former city pumping station, lacks space. The city last year considered contributing about $1 million to expand the building, but after voters passed a 0.5 mill senior levy last November, Mayor Mike Seferian started looking at other sites to provide services.
Seferian and Administrator Mike Beazley have met with officials from Bay Park Pro Medica Hospital and Mercy St. Charles Hospital to discuss the possibility of a joint effort to provide senior programs.
“We’re entertaining the idea of a partnership,” said Seferian. “We’re talking to them to see if there’s interest to build a senior center on their sites, and working with us and the YMCA to help run it. What we would really like to see is if one of those hospitals would build it in one of their new construction projects and add a facility for a senior center.”
The city would contribute about $2 million towards construction, he said. “The hospital would maintain the building. The Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio, Inc., (AOoA) would help the YMCA run it. People in the Y have been running programs like this for 100 years and they understand the magnitude of running a program and how big it can grow.”
The hospitals would also benefit because seniors would more likely use medical services in their facilities for health care.
“The hospitals can be a showcase for seniors’ health care needs,” he said.
So far, Bay Park has shown the most interest, he said
“Pro Medica was looking to build a wellness center on their campus out towards Wheeling Street at the end of their property. We thought if they were going to build a facility there, how much more would it be to build a 6,000 square foot addition to facilitate a community room for a senior center. They’d already have a lot of things on the site – restrooms, parking. They’d just have to add onto an existing building. We could contribute funds for the capital part of it,” said Seferian.
“We’re looking at the likelihood we could accomplish something like this.
In the meantime, we’re not going to make any commitments until we see if this is possible. This could be our way to the future with a senior facility. If we can strike up an arrangement like that, we’ll be able to offer more successful programs than if we tried to pull it off by building an addition to the existing center and try to expand that facility,” he said.
The city decided to put together a committee to determine how the levy funds will be spent after it was learned last November that officials from the James “Wes” Hancock Senior Center had rejected the possibility of getting $250,000 from the AOoA to expand operations and had opted instead to get the center’s own levy on the ballot. Some voters as well as some on city council felt they were misled by an Oregon senior levy campaign that inaccurately stated the senior center’s budget had been cut by the city and the AOoA last year when in fact it had not.
The city had considered not collecting revenue from the five year levy, but election results had already been certified by the county, so revenue must be collected for the first year. The city could decide not to collect in succeeding years. Seferian said it was still a possibility if the city cannot put together an efficient plan to provide senior services with levy revenue, estimated to be over $200,000 annually.
“If you are going to create programs, make the programs work,” he said.
The city would not renew the levy in five years if it can pull together the proposal to get one of the hospitals, the YMCA, and the AOoA involved in providing senior services, he said.
“After the five years are up, we wouldn’t need to renew the levy because we would have the bases covered then. I think the public would accept that as a good use of the funds if we could work that all out,” he said.