Discussions have begun between McLean County and Calhoun about whether to find a new location for the senior citizens center.
McLean County Home Place, a hub for McLean County senior citizens, was destroyed by fire on Dec. 9.
McLean County Judge-Executive Curtis Dame said the county is currently looking at Myer Creek Park as a new home for the center. There are also conversations about putting a new firehouse where the senior center was formerly housed on Walnut Street in Calhoun.
“Calhoun has money in the bank that has to be spent on a firehouse,” he said.
One of the major concerns about the center’s previous location is that the area is considered a flood plain.
Another concern is the road where the park entrance and exit is.
“We have to be mindful and try to serve all the residents in the county and not just one area,” Dame said.
Dame said there are other details that need to be studied before making a decision.
“I think we are getting the cart before the horse on this issue,” he said.
Sewer issues and the size of the parking lot are other concerns Dame is taking into consideration when finding a new spot for the center.
“We have a multitude of issues that need to be addressed at the current site,” he said.
According to Dame, there was an issue with sewage overflow at the previous site last summer, making the bathroom unusable to anyone using the facility. Dame said that is a major health concern.
Dame said the county is also looking to expand the parking lot and make it more handicap accessible.
Many of the residents who have called with concerns about moving the center to Myer Creek Park are senior citizens that live in Calhoun, according to Dame.
“Their concerns don’t go unreceived,” he said. “We just have a lot to do before we get there.”
Bruce Cabbage, Calhoun city council member and Myer Creek Park board chairman, said he has received many phone calls from a lot of residents and senior citizens who don’t want the center moved to the park.
Cabbage said many of the comments he has heard have been from residents who don’t want to drive that far and would prefer to keep it in Calhoun.
One issue for Cabbage is the possible expansion of the groups who already use Myer Creek Park. He said the 4-H has talked about adding a 4-H center, and the fair board is looking to expand in the park. According to him, those details would be needed before a serious discussion begins on moving the senior citizens center to the park.
“There’s a lot we need to consider and it doesn’t need to be jumped into,” he said.
Karah Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org