http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2008/02/01/advocates-seek-senior-commission


Danville Express

Newsfront - February 1, 2008

Advocates seek senior commission

Danville providing services for unmet needs

by Natalie O'Neill

More seniors are turning to the town for recreation, thanks to increased distribution of the Silver Streak newsletter and a new fulltime senior recreation programmer.

Both town officials and seniors say attendance is way up. And now, some elderly advocates say this illustrates the need for a senior commission - to continue further input.

"Seniors appreciate a voice," said Betty Joyce, a senior activist. "I hope the council looks into it."

Commissions serve as liaisons with the Town Council and in the past have been formed for three reasons, said Town Manager Joe Calabrigo. They have been created because they are state mandated, they address capital needs like parks and facilities, or they are design-related.

The process by which the town decides whether something warrants a commission is a little less formulaic, though.

"I think that there's no hard and fast answer," Calabrigo said.

Current commissions are set up for town planning, parks and leisure services, heritage resource and arts.

There hasn't ever been a program-based commission and they are most likely to be formed when a subject requires ongoing input. But he added it is not out of the town's purview.

"We think we're making some very good progress with seniors," Calabrigo said. "The numbers are way up."

The town has completed 17 of the 25 steps town staff decided to take to improve senior services, after research in Danville showed that seniors left town for other recreation activities. They are also working toward getting seniors "a place they can call their own," Calabrigo said.

Joyce agrees the town moved swiftly after identifying unmet needs in the senior demographic.

"I can see a very definite improvement," she said.

She said the senior commission would be a consolidation of ideas and that she hopes to eliminate program charges, since many elderly people in the area are on a fixed income.

"I'd like to just get this off the ground," Joyce said.

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