Senior center work out to bid by January, says mayor

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The senior center on Stagecoach Road in Palermo has been closed since April. The senior center on Stagecoach Road in Palermo has been closed since April.

PALERMO – The county is waiting for updated architectural drawings for a planned renovation of the Upper Township Senior Center to proceed.

 

Mayor Richard Palombo said last week that the county plans to build a wellness clinic at the senior center, upgrade the kitchen, install wireless internet, and renovate rooms for pool and arts and crafts.

Palombo said the county hopes to have the project out to bid by the beginning of next year.

“I talked with Freeholder Director (Gerald) Thornton and the county engineer,” said Palombo. “They are trying to make this a center that will attract people. For some reason, for the past few years, the number of people using the building has dwindled.”

Palombo said part of the reason may have been the state of the building, which is in need of repair, and the staffing.

“The county has assured us they will staff the building,” said Palombo.

“It’s taken a little longer than anticipated but they are committed to completing the project,” he added.

In April Freeholder Kristine Gabor, who serves as director of Health and Human Services for Cape May County, detailed plans for work at the senior center. She said the building will be renamed the Senior and Wellness Center and will accommodate more services for seniors and the community as a whole.

Construction was slated to begin within 30 days at that point. The senior center has been closed since then, but construction has yet to start.

The county has $300,000 in grant funding for construction.

Plans for the center called for a new handicap accessible door to be installed, along with a new roof and shingles, new siding and brick façade, new furniture, flooring, windows, ceiling tiles and a new kitchen.

The senior center provides a space for seniors to participate in activities like card games, pool, a walking program, exercise, a sewing class, art instruction, Bingo, craft classes and other games. Lunch is served daily at the facility.

While construction is underway, the county made arrangements to transport seniors to Ocean City’s new Community Center.

21 percent of Cape May County’s population is over 65. The county maintains senior centers in Lower Township, Cape May Court House, North Wildwood, Ocean City and Upper Township.

 


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