Charlene Sims, Journal staff
Commission discusses moving senior center to former café
The Linn County Commission is looking at the purchase of the former MeeMaw's Country Kitchen building at 602 Main St. as a new home for the Pleasanton Senior Center. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)
Below are photos of problems found at the current center including, from top down, dangerous wiring, corroded furnace vents, mold on the walls and deteriorated windows. (Photos by Danny McCullough/Special to the Journal)
MOUND CITY – Representatives from the Pleasanton Senior Center met with the Linn County Commissioners on Monday, March 13, to encourage the commissioners to make a decision about which building will finally become the senior center.
Commission Chair Danny McCullough began the meeting showing pictures that he had taken last week of the present center.
“I wanted everybody to see why I’ve been pushing to move you to a better facility. I did not think this building was sufficient,” said McCullough.
The pictures he showed were of wiring, furnaces, furnace vents, and other areas that were in disrepair. Pictures of the attic showed burnt boards from a previous fire and pictures of the basement showed mold on the walls.
McCullough told the representatives that he wanted what was best for the seniors and the county. He said he did not think that it was healthy for the seniors to be in that building.
Public Works Director Shaun West handed out a packet to the commissioners with financial figures of the costs of the present building and bids from last year on heating and cooling upgrades.
West said that the cost since February 2022 on maintenance and expenditure for the current building was $12,347, a little more than $1,000 per month.
West reported that at present the building was heated by one furnace and cooled by the condenser with that furnace and a window air conditioner.
He showed the commissioners pictures of the other three condensers on the outside of the building that were not working. Bids from last year from Webber Heating and Cooling was $18,634 from CDL One Company, Many Solutions the bid was $22,058 to redo those units.
The packet showed the other options that had been looked at. They were:
• The Pleasanton Community Building which would be a joint effort with the city of Pleasanton. The senior meals would be served in the storm shelter part of the building, and tables would have to set up and taken down every day.
• A backroom storage area in the health department that had no windows. Seniors had rejected this idea a year ago because the building was difficult to get to. They wanted something on Main Street that was easier to access and was close to the library.
• A new proposal of the former MeeMaw’s Country Kitchen restaurant building, owned by Doug and Becky Grant, on the corner of Sixth and Main that is for sale for $85,000. The building is up to date and has had several improvements made in the last 10 years and would not take much renovation.
Improvements made to the former restaurant include:
• 2022 – New furnace and air conditioning system
• 2019 – roof was sealed, painted inside, back air conditioning unit serviced, hot water tank replaced
• 2015 – painted outside, bathrooms updated with heaters, lighting replaced updated to LED, installed a drop ceiling, electrician identified and fixed all wiring issues, updated breaker and panels, outside lights were upgraded to LED, 2015 camera system hardwired, French doors installed on east side of the building, replaced industrial tiles in lobby, hall and bathrooms, removed all barn wood interior and replaced with insulation and sheetrock
Rosalea DeMott, a representative for the seniors, asked if the commission was going to spend $85,000 on the former restaurant, why couldn’t that money be put into the current center.
McCullough said that it would cost a lot more than that to renovate the old building and the heating and cooling costs would continue to be high.
McCullough presented the current monthly gas bill, which was $498, and the $406 electric bill. The corresponding bills for the MeeMaw’s café building were $225 for gas and $250 for electricity with a person living in there full time.
DeMott asked how long it would be before that building would be available to the seniors.
McCullough said that it would be less time than making a space in the community building.
West will schedule a walk through with McCullough, Fire Chief Randy Hegwald, Randy Page (who is doing some general contracting for Linn County buildings), and representatives from the senior center.
West pointed out that the restaurant building offered more space and that space would only be for the senior program. Both the health department and community building proposal would require the program share the space.
DeMott reminded commissioners that this process had been dragging on for three years, and she hoped that this new option would be finally settle the location.