From:                                         Cindy Brown []

Sent:                                           Friday, May 14, 2010 11:03 AM


Subject:                                     Uniontown Senior Center renovations press release


Fayette County Community Action Agency, Inc.

N E W S   R E L E A S E

(724) 437-6050



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:         Contact: Cindy Ekas-Brown

April 29, 2010                                PR/Outreach Specialist                      724-437-6050, extension 4276                                                            


Grant approved for Uniontown Senior Center renovations


Fayette County Community Action Agency Inc. (FCCAA) hopes to recruit baby boomers to participate at the Uniontown Senior Center, where a recently approved state grant will fund $98,637 in renovations.


“We want to create a whole new atmosphere at the senior center,” said Joyce Miller, FCCAA’s director of community service who previously served as the agency’s director of aging services.


FCCAA is also in the process of renaming the center to attract the baby boomer generation to join longtime seniors who have been attending the facility for many years. A new name has not yet been selected.


“We’re trying to recruit seniors over age 60,” Miller said. “Most of these people are still working and don’t want to come for lunch.”


During the renovation process, FCCAA plans to install four cyber and computer stations, where participants will have an opportunity to learn new technology, according to Miller. A café bar will also be available in the evenings, so seniors will be able to come to the center to take home a quick, hot meal for themselves and their families.


“We’re installing the computer stations and offering the soup, salad and sandwich bar with the hope of appealing to younger seniors,” she said. “These seniors will come into the center to buy their meals, and they will be introduced to the various activities occurring at the center on a daily basis.”


Miller said the Uniontown Senior Center, located at 137 N. Beeson Ave., has not been renovated since 1988 when the former West Penn Power Co. building and a garage were connected to create the Community Service Center.


“We’ve applied for grants to renovate the center over the years, but they were never awarded until this year,” she said. “In the grant application, we emphasized the need to attract the baby boomer generation. The state Department of Aging must have liked the idea because the Nutrition Services Grant was approved.”


The proposed upgrades and renovations are expected to encourage community involvement by making the center available for rental by community groups, according to Miller.


“Because of the disrepair of existing equipment and a lack of aesthetic appeal, the senior center cannot currently be rented out to the public,” she said.


After renovations are completed and the existing equipment is upgraded, the center will be available to other community groups, which will also provide FCCAA an opportunity to recruit new members, Miller said.


The funding must be allocated by June 30, and the actual work is expected to be completed by late summer, according to Miller.


“The contractors have to be lined up by June 30, but I don’t think it will take that long for them to complete the renovations,” she said. “We’re hoping to have everything done by late summer.”


Debbie Bricker, project manager for FCCAA’s aging services, has been talking to contractors about the timeline for the renovations.


“The contractors have been telling Debbie (Bricker) that it’s not going to take that long,” Miller said. “We’re discussing the possibility of closing the center on a Friday through Monday, taking out the equipment and installing the flooring in a four-day period.”


Miller said about 85 to 100 seniors currently use the center, which has the capacity to seat 112 people at a time.


“Right now, we have a lot of activities scheduled in the afternoons, but there’s always something going on in the evenings as well,” she said. “We also have exercise equipment available, but we’re hoping to move that into another room at some point.”


Leslie Grenfell, AAA’s executive director, recently sent a letter to James M. Stark, FCCAA’s CEO, thanking the agency for taking the time and initiative to submit an innovative grant application in an effort to help revitalize and modernize the senior community centers supported by FCCAA.


“Senior community centers are a vital and important part of the service delivery system and often provide the first step in the long-term care continuum,” Grenfell said.