Charlene Sims, Journal staff
Commission approves study of two locations for senior center
Updated: Apr 4
MOUND CITY – The saga of determining the future location of the Pleasanton Senior Center had its latest installment on Monday, March 27, as the Linn County commissioners remained divided on which direction to take.
On Thursday, March 23, representatives of the senior center, Commission Chair Danny McCullough, Assistant Public Works Administrator Jessica Hightower and Linn County Construction Consultant Randy Page walked through the former MeeMaw’s Restaurant at 602 Main St. to see what the building would need if the senior center was to move there.
McCullough said that the representatives seemed agreeable with the building as a future location for the center.
The center is currently housed in an older building that has a long list of structural and technical deficiencies.
Jessica Hightower said that Page had given her a list of repairs that would need to be done to the former restaurant. They included reconfiguring the current bathroom to make it American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, adding another bathroom, repairing around the electric meter or reinstalling a meter, and electrical work that need done in the kitchen.
Other repairs included some interior cosmetic work, fixing and replacing some ceiling tiles, paint, installing a wash sink. On the exterior there is a broken window that needs to be replaced, some clean up and some siding issues and holes on the south end.
They also talked about building a kitchen area back into it so they can have their sink and food warmers and refrigerator moved over.
Commissioner Jason Hightower said that he thought the county should move ahead with a cost assessment of the former restaurant.
However, Commissioner Jim Johnson said that he thought the senior center should be put into the health department building at 11240 Tucker Rd.
“What you are going to spend on the building would go a long way (at the health department), and we would still have the building on the tax rolls, said Johnson.
Commissioner Hightower said he thought the issue of moving the senior center to the health department building was one of location.
The health center location has been criticized because it is on the outskirts of Pleasanton, which makes the walking distance from the center of the city considerably further.
Johnson said the center is a countywide senior center. There’s a lot of people that live outside of the city.
McCullough said that the health department building was a big open space and had no windows. He said the commission has been dealing with the issue for three years, and that he was not in favor of the health department location.
”This is the roadblock I have been running into for the last three years,” said McCullough. “It’s been pushed down the road too long, and it is time to deal with it.”
Commissioner Hightower said that he agreed with that. He said he was in favor of trying to figure out how to make it happen.
After discussion on where the purchase and improvement money would come from, McCullough made a motion to get a cost analysis for purchasing and remodeling the former MeeMaw’s restaurant. Commissioners approved the motion on a 2-1 vote with Johnson voting against the measure.
Later in the meeting, Johnson made a motion to also get a cost estimate for redoing the backroom of the health department for the seniors. The measure also passed on a 2-1 vote with McCullough voting against it.
In a phone conversation on Tuesday with people at the Pleasanton Senior Center, the consensus seemed to be that they thought the building needed to stay in town and not be moved to the health department.
In interviews with several people at the center, many cited the distance and lack of sidewalks for people attending there. At present, some drive to the current center, but several either walk or use scooters to attend. Others have vision problems and do not feel safe traveling that far.
Many mentioned that they wanted a place of their own where they could use it in the evening. Rosalee DeMott said that they often play bingo or cards on Thursday evenings.
Linda Dudley said that the seniors needed their own place both in the day and evening.
Edith Titus said that the seniors needed a place of their own.
Former County Clerk Don Profitt said that because most of the people attending the center lived in town and some walked or rode buggies to the center, the health department location was harder for them to get to.
Jack Emerson questioned what the commission was going to do with the current building when the senior center moved out. He said that the building had to be a health hazard if there was mold in the basement.
Emerson said he had never seen anything so disorganized as the commission’s attempt at a finding a location. He said that he would not be able to go to the center if it was at the health department building.
Alan Russell said he was against the health department location.
Buck Ernst said that he did drive but did not want to go to the health department.
Bill Jordan said that he did not have a strong opinion on the location but felt that a building in town was more accessible for people with mobility problems.
Ron Howard said that it would be very difficult for him to attend at the health department since he lived in senior housing, had vision problems and used a guide dog to help him.