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Shippensburg Borough Council contemplates senior center issue

10 May 2013 No Comment

@ShipNews Girl

Shippensburg residents who use the area’s soon-to-be-displaced senior center filled a few rows of seats at this week’s borough council meeting, in support of finding a new facility in the borough.

The senior center will lose its current facility on Cleversburg Road in Cumberland County’s Southampton Township on June 30, and Shippensburg has become a popular choice for the next location.

Ann Hinkle, director of the senior center, issued what she called a plea to council to play a role in offering solutions.

“It’d be wonderful to have a collective in the community to provide this,” she said.

Council is on board with participating in finding a solution.

Councilman Joe Hockersmith said, “We need to look at this hard.”

Hinkle’s ideal solution is for there to be a permanent home so that the senior center does not have to move again. As it has been, a participating municipality sponsors a facility for the senior center to use.

The year-long contract could mean that the center is in need of a new home every year, should the current facility sponsor choose to not renew the contract.

“Despite that they don’t want to, they’re almost going to have to take a temporary home,” said Borough Manager Earl Parshall.

The biggest issue is that there are few viable options, Parshall said. Any options in the borough all need a good deal of work and money, and could likely not be ready for temporary use, he said.

“I’ve racked my brain the past couple of weeks coming up with spaces. Their just really aren’t any,” Parshall said.

Parshall did note that, according to 2012 statistics from Cumberland County Office on Aging, which operates the senior center in cooperation with the Franklin County office and participating municipalities, borough residents make up about 17 percent of the senior center’s members.

Contrary to what was reported by a Southampton Township official, about 45 percent of members are residents of that Cumberland County township, Parshall said, according to the data.

There are about 200 members, plus visitors, who use the senior center, Hinkle has said. Last year, 10,000 meals were served, there were activities with 16,000 participants overall, and there were 4,300 visits from friends and family.

“That’s significant in this town,” she said.

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