Atlantic County approves $53,600 for Galloway Senior Center kitchen

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Mayor Don Purdy, left, and Freeholder Rich Dase Mayor Don Purdy, left, and Freeholder Rich Dase

GALLOWAY – Atlantic County freeholders have approved $53,600 to be used toward providing a kitchen in the township Senior Center on Carton Avenue at the White Horse Pike.

“It’s a start,” Mayor Don Purdy said Wednesday of the announcement made Tuesday, April 16 by Freeholder Rich Dase. “It should be enough to get a kitchen operational.”

Purdy said he and council have been working for more than a year to arrange funding for the kitchen, which would benefit Galloway seniors on a day-to-day basis as well as allow the county to establish the center as a nutrition site for local residents as well as seniors from neighboring communities.

“I want to thank the freeholder board and (Atlantic County Administrator) Jerry DelRosso and our administrator Arch Liston,” Purdy said. “I want to thank Rich Dase for being on the board and supporting it.”

Dase, who represents Atlantic County’s 4th District which includes Galloway, Port Republic, Absecon and Brigantine, said the board was redirecting unused Community Development Block Grant money toward construction of a kitchen in the Galloway Township Senior Center. 

“It has long been my contention that Galloway Township should have a county nutrition site,” Dase said. “It is something I have been working on, and another reason I am seeking re-election in November. Galloway residents currently either go to Egg Harbor City or Absecon. This may be convenient for residents who live close to the borders of these towns, however I think it’s a shame that a municipality as large as Galloway does not have a nutrition site of its own.”

After the center opened last June without a kitchen, Dase said many Galloway seniors asked him if the county could help it get one.

He said he reached out to County Executive Dennis Levinson and DelRosso to see what could be done through the Community Development Block Grant program. 

Dase said he recommended that the township contact the Atlantic County Improvement Authority about securing funding.

“I told the township that if they made this a funding priority, a requirement of the CDBG process, I would follow it closely and do everything I could to assist,” Dase said. “I am happy to announce today that Galloway seniors are much closer to having a full-fledged senior center with a county nutrition site and services available to help seniors with taxes, low-income heating assistance program applications, and any other issues with which seniors may need assistance.” 

Purdy said the block grant money is about half what was estimated as the cost of a kitchen meeting today’s codes and other requirements.

“The main thing is getting an operational kitchen for the seniors’ day-to-day activities,” the mayor said. “Having it become a county nutrition site will benefit both our residents of Galloway Township and those living in neighboring communities.”

He said he takes great satisfaction with having the center open and watching it regularly grow senior activities.

“The seniors pay taxes – and they don’t use the schools,” Purdy said. “It’s nice to be able to give something back to them.”

He said he expects Liston and DelRosso to continue working together toward obtaining further grant money and to make the best use of what they have.

“We will pursue every avenue to make sure the township gets the most bang for its buck,” Purdy said. “We’ll get the most and best in equipment that we can with the amount we have to spend.”

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