Danville Express

Perspective - September 14, 2007

Spotlight on seniors

The Danville Senior Services program debuted last week after two months of planning. Yes, it was a mere two months since the town had passed its 2007-08 budget, with $346,888 allotted for senior services. Town staff is to be commended for putting the new program into place with such efficiency.

It was only 11 months ago, in October 2006, that a vocal group of seniors began to complain the town wasn't doing enough for them. They argued that while Danville took care of its youths with sports fields and recreation programs, and even its dogs with its special parks, seniors did not have the programs offered in adjacent communities.

Town officials decided they first must find out what the majority of senior residents want. The Needs Assessment Survey of residents over the age of 55, plus a sampling just over 50, was completed in April; it concluded the top desires were for a centralized facility for senior recreation, increased programming and a dedicated staff member. Research showed senior centers are used by the seniors mostly between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., so the town concluded one of its existing facilities could be converted during these hours. After much discussion, the town decided on the Veterans Memorial Building.

A program coordinator was hired full time, and she worked hard along with others on the town staff to put together the classes and activities outlined in the new Silver Streak newsletter. On Sept. 4, the Danville Senior Services program premiered at the Vets Hall. The town is to be commended for its quick response to the senior demands with its expanded program. Danville may not have built a brand new impressive building for the seniors, but it did put together a great program and is providing a place for them to call their own.


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