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Pa. township could get senior center

April 03, 1999|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - The building on Pa. 75 four miles south of Mercersburg that housed the Moose Club could gain new life as Franklin County's largest and newest senior center.

In February, the Moose Club sold the 11,000-square-foot building for $350,000 to the Montgomery Township supervisors.

Township Supervisors William Coble, Dean Metcalf Sr. and Ronald Hissong met at the Moose building Wednesday with Kim Murdaugh, director of the Franklin County Area Agency on Aging, and Margaret Bream, director of Franklin County's senior centers.

Murdaugh and Bream said they like the space and layout of the building and would seriously consider the township's offer to lease most of it for a new senior center.

Franklin County has seven senior centers, but none in the southwestern part of the county. A new center would serve seniors in Mercersburg and Peters, Warren and Montgomery townships, an area with a population of about 10,000.

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Murdaugh said it's up to residents to say if they want a senior center in that part of the county. Survey forms will be available to area residents. At least 100 would have to respond favorably before the agency considers leasing the building, she said.

The building, 18 acres of land and a pavilion would allow the agency to hold special programs, large computer classes and annual banquets and picnics for all seniors in the county at one time, Murdaugh said.

The township is paying for the property from its share of dumping fees from the Mountain View Reclamation landfill in Upton, Pa., Coble said. "We've been blessed with the tipping fees, so we'd like to give something back to the community," he said.

The offer to buy the property came up so fast that the supervisors weren't sure what to do with it after they bought it, Metcalf said. Coble said the township will move its offices into part of the building. The township garage and office building is adjacent to the Moose property.

A senior center is needed in the Mercersburg area, Murdaugh said. "No one from this area goes to the center in Greencastle, and only about nine people use the one in Fort Loudon," she said.

A new center wouldn't cross lines or duplicate services from others in the county, she said.

Bream likes the large, level parking lot because it offers easy access into the building for people in wheelchairs. Murdaugh said the Moose building is large enough to expand the county's adult day-care program.

Buses from the Franklin County Integrated Services transport seniors who need rides to the centers. The service would expand to handle a new center near Mercersburg.

Activities at senior centers include classes in computers, languages, painting and other subjects, exercise classes, crafts and dancing. All seven centers serve hot noon meals through a catering service.

Meanwhile, William Teach, governor of the local Moose Club, said the club is negotiating to buy three acres of land on Landis Drive as the site of a new lodge building. Teach said the sale is contingent on zoning and the club's ability to get a liquor license.

For now, the Moose will continue to use its old building on a month-to-month lease from the township, he said.

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