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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Senior center is coming to Lilbourn

Thursday, June 19, 2003

LILBOURN - It isn't just young people who complain there's nothing to do. Even adults sometimes find themselves wondering how they can keep occupied.

And in small towns, said Barbara Nimmo, it can be an even greater problem. "Especially for senior citizens, what do they have to do?" she asked.

Nimmo already has the answer though. As a member of the Delmo Housing Corporation Board, Nimmo and other board members are working to develop a senior citizens center in their community. And she is enlisting the other residents to help make it a reality.

What Nimmo and others on the board envision is a place where seniors can gather on a daily basis in Lilbourn.

"Most people you talk to say this is long over due," said John Terry, director of Delmo. "But we want not just an activity building but for this to be a place for those times when nothing is going on they can just sit around and enjoy their friends and enjoy visiting."

And they have just the place in mind. A city-owned building at the corner of Fifth and Phillips streets was vacant and just may be the perfect future home for a senior center.

Already Nimmo has negotiated a lease price for six months and fund-raising has begun. With the help of a church youth group from St. Louis, repairs and paint were made to the interior of the two-story brick building.

But the real hurdle is coming up with the $25,000 sought by the city for the building.

While the group is soliciting donations, they are also busy raising money. A fish fry, a carnival and a walk-a-thon have brought in some funds and similar events are being planned on a monthly basis.

"So far everything is really positive," said Nimmo.

That includes public reaction, she added, noting that plans for a fitness center on the second floor has drawn interest of some not-so-senior citizens, who asked if they might purchase a membership for use of the equipment. It was a suggestion which pleased Nimmo, who said it would be another way to bring the community together and help fund the cost of the building.

Downstairs is a large room with tables and chairs. There is a small kitchen and serving area along with bathrooms, making the first floor perfect for gatherings such as the upcoming community meeting planned for 6:30 p.m. Friday. During the meeting, the public will be asked what they would expect from such a center and how they could help.

Also the meeting will be an opportunity to see the proposed senior center.

The development of the senior center is part of the Delmo Housing Corporation's efforts to revitalize the organization, which has been a part of the community since the 1940s.

"We want to really increase public awareness of what Delmo is trying to do and to bring back programs to benefit the community," said Terry. These programs range from the Delmo's Thrift shop which is opened five-days a week providing new and used clothing and furniture and the Echo Homes, cottages which are designed to provide housing for the elderly near their families. The group assists young people in need of school supplies each fall and would like to increase efforts to meet the needs of those looking for housing and jobs.

Terry pointed out the group is not government-funded and is operated almost entirely with volunteers. Also, while it is located in Lilbourn, the Delmo Housing Corporation isn't just for Lilbourn residents, he added.

"We would like to reach out to all the families in the surrounding communities in a way that Delmo used to," said Terry. "Delmo is not a fix-all but Delmo is a help. We are there to encourage people and help them get the boost they need."

For more information about Delmo Housing Corporation projects or information about the proposed Senior Citizens Center call 688-2565 or 688-2616.