TIPP CITY — To make their vision for a new center a reality, Tipp City’s senior citizens are asking the community to vote ‘yes’ on Issue 7.
The nonprofit Tipp City Seniors Inc. is asking voters to approve a levy for the first time since the organization’s founding in 1969. This 1-mill, five-year levy will generate nearly $400,000 per year — about $1.9 million — to fund the construction of a new senior center.
“We want to work towards the future and the needs that seniors have that aren’t being met,” building committee chairman John Berk said.
The money would go to the purchase of the 5-acre parcel at Hyatt Street and Machester Drive, the construction of an 8,000 to 10,000 square foot facility, and the planning of future programs, Berk said.
The group was founded in 1969 with about 70 members and, after a few years of meeting in churches, the current location on South First Street was purchased in 1971.
But now the group — which has gained 20 new members since the first of the year — has outgrown the small space and is hoping to expand to a new location.
Currently the center has about 180 members, with more than 20 new members joining since January. A typical event at the center draws 40 or 50 attendees, but bigger events often push the limits of the center’s capacity.
Membership is growing quickly as more Baby Boomers become eligible to join the center, Berk said. A larger facility could attract even more new members, Berk said.
“More people are in the 60s and 70s age bracket than we’ve ever had in this country,” Berk said. “We trying to have a building that will be more flexible, a building that can do more for the people and help them in their everyday life. And part of that is socialization.”
The current center has about 3,300 square feet and only two usable meeting rooms — one that can accommodate about 80 people and smaller one that can fit 30.
“We need more space in order to be able to develop more programs,” Berk said.
The center also struggles with parking, as its lot only parks about a dozen cars. Handicap accessibility is another major issue. There are stairs and a wheelchair ramp into the building that are difficult for many members to use. A new center would be designed for seniors’ needs and have only one floor.
“It’s hard for them to get in and out of the building,” Berk said.
The seniors would also like to have a modern kitchen that meets the health department standards, he added.
The center offers two organized events each month, in addition to carry-in lunches, card games, crafts, and line dancing. Berk said that with the expansion, the center hopes to offer more programs to attract male members.
TCS has worked with the city to find a location and on the zoning for the land. Monroe Township acted as the sponsoring agency for the levy.
The seniors have also organized several fundraisers, including selling crafts and cookbooks, but a levy is the only way to raise enough money to go forward with the project, Berk said.
For more information about the levy and the organization, and to show residents the building’s condition, the seniors are inviting the public to open houses at the current center at 320 S. First St. The open houses will be Oct. 23 at 1:30 p.m. and Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.
Cecilia can be reached at [email protected] or at (937) 552-2205