New senior center is for everyone.

March 2, 2018

New senior center is for everyone.

#OceanaCountyCouncilOnAging

Dear Editor:

First of all, I would like to thank everyone in Oceana County for voting “YES” back in August 2016, to pass the millage for the Oceana County Council on Aging to move forward on their expansion/new construction.

Many people have been asking questions about the OCCOA expansion/new construction, so I will try to give as much of an update as possible. When we first had the idea of expanding seven years ago, the idea was to expand our current building. Our main issue is that there just isn’t enough space available for our needed parking. We did try several times to purchase additional property around us, but without success.

Christmas celebration at the senior center.

After approximately a year, it became evident this was absolutely not going to work, so we decided to look elsewhere for property to build on. We did look at several pieces of property – one especially that was quite a bit closer to the center of Oceana County. Once we investigated it further, we found it had several building and safety issues that would not work for a senior center, and the price was prohibitive. So, we looked on, and finally found property on Tyler Road, approximately ¼ mile west of 72nd Avenue.

With the OCCOA Board permission, and the Hart Township Board permission, that property was purchased in the summer of 2017, and in September we had an open house for the public to come and check out where our new location will be. It is beautiful land, not far from town. We should be able to see some wildlife and enjoy the outdoors, and not be crowded by parking lots and constant traffic.

Our hope is to eventually have some walking trails, maybe a garden,

OCCOA’s kayak club on Hart Lake.

ongoing outdoor activities, etc. Only the imagination will be the limit. The more active seniors are, the longer they are able to stay in their own home and live a longer, fulfilling life. If you weren’t able to make it to our open house, please feel free to stop by the property, walk around and take a look. We have a large sign posted with “Future Home of the OCCOA.” Hopefully you will be as excited as all of us!

In September of 2017, the expansioncommittee sent out bid requests to all online and phone book listed Oceana County contractors. Once those bids were returned, the expansion committee and the OCCOA Board of Directors had much discussion. The bid was then awarded to Blackmer Construction in November of 2017. Just last week, Blackmer Construction provided us with their first draft of our floor plans. We may have a few minor changes, but they look great!

Seniors having some Mardi Gras fun.

Once these are all okayed by the entire expansion committee and the OCCOA Board of Directors, the plans will then go to a local architect for their final drawing. Our new building theme will come from the local farms and history of Oceana County, with the idea of a post and beam structure that mimics the warmth and inviting charm of an old family barn. This new Senior Center is for everyone – whether they are already seniors, or the “future” seniors. This is being planned for current needs, and into the future.

According to the Institute on Aging, the National statistic states, “By 2030, as the last Baby Boomers turn 65, older adults are expected to reach 20 percent of the population.” This figures out to an approximate increase of 5,300 in just the next 3.8 years (2020) for our county. More and more of us will be able to enjoy the wonderful senior services as we reach that stage in our lives, and I for one, am so glad we have the Oceana County Council on Aging.

We have been hearing some people say they don’t or can’t receive services from the Oceana County Council on Aging because they don’t live in Hart. This is most assuredly not true! Our services are for any and all Oceana County seniors. All a senior needs to do is contact the OCCOA at 231-873-4461. We have many, many services – including on site, off site, and at your home, and all you need to do is ask.

If you don’t have transportation, we have buses that will give you a ride from anywhere in Oceana County. You can also check out our website at http://www.oceanacoa.com/ for all our services, as it will probably amaze you. Please call today! Thank you again for your support.

Robin Rash (also a senior)
OCCOA Expansion Committee Member

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