Seniors propose building project

Iola Seniors, Inc., asked county commissioners for help to build an addition to their facility.



August 11, 2021 - 9:58 AM

Joe Hess talks with Allen County commissioners about a proposed building project to expand facilities at Iola Seniors, Inc. Photo by Trevor Hoag / Iola Register

Allen County’s seniors have big plans.

Joe Hess and Joyce Adair from Iola Seniors, Inc., visited with county commissioners Tuesday morning about assistance on building an addition to their facility at 223 N. State St.

Hess said a 20 x 50 foot room added to the south side of the building would help alleviate severe overcrowding.

He estimated the cost at around $72,700, and shared information on a grant from the Maybee Foundation that would help cut costs.

Commissioners seemed receptive to Hess’ concerns, but did not take action to designate funds for the proposed project.

Adair noted Seniors, Inc., is open five days a week  as well as the second Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to  2 p.m.

Becky Voorhies, director of health programs at Thrive Allen County, again talked with commissioners about installing storm shelters across the county, focusing on unincorporated communities.

The main question at issue was determining which is more cost-effective: buying the shelters outright, or pursuing a specific grant to lower costs.

In this case, the numbers worked out such that commissioners determined it was best to simply forgo the grant and to directly purchase the shelters.

For context, a prefabricated shelter from Protection Shelters in Wichita for 30 people runs about $35,746 for one shelter and $178,725 for five shelters. There are also costs associated with making sure that facilities are ADA compliant so that those with disabilities can still have access.

Lisse Regher, CEO Thrive Allen County, spoke with commissioners about local transportation plans, specifically looking for ways to make Thrive’s out-of-county ride program sustainable and ongoing, by eventually handing it off to another entity.

“My dream is that someone other than Thrive can do it,” she said, and she shared statistics showing that the number of riders who take advantage of non-emergency transport only continues to grow each month.

Regher also mentioned that there are grants available to hire additional drivers and to provide rides for those specifically attending drug court.

From left, Chelsie Angleton, Bryan Murphy, Jason Jenkins, Terry Call and Jessica Thompson listen to presenters during Tuesday’s commission meeting.Photo by Trevor Hoag

Jonathon Goering, Thrive economic development director, shared with commissioners the good news that Allen County Regional Airport was selected for the Fly Kansas Air Tour.

This public event will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 23, and more than 40 airplanes of different models will be parked for folks to explore and enjoy.

During his weekly report, public works director Mitch Garner said that county wide chip-seal repairs began on Monday, thanks to favorable weather.