Seniors surveyed say they would like centers in Washington Co.

November 07, 2007|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY - A survey of local seniors conducted by the Washington County Commission on Aging shows about 70 percent of respondents want a senior center to be built in the county.

The Commission on Aging presented the survey's results to the Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday.

The Commission on Aging has asked the county commissioners to reserve $800,000 in next year's capital improvements budget for a multi-purpose center that would provide activities for seniors during the day and be open to other groups at night.

Washington County is the only county in Maryland that does not have a senior center, and most counties have more than one.

"It's something our seniors are asking for and seem to expect," said Susan J. MacDonald, executive director of the Commission on Aging.


The 13-question survey asked seniors what they would like the center to provide, where they would like the center to be built, how often they use existing senior services and several other questions.

MacDonald said 643 people responded to the survey, which was distributed at libraries, hospitals, local organizations and churches.

Most people who responded to the survey said two or three centers should be built, and they said the first center should be built in Hagerstown.

According to U.S. Census projections, 33,825 people 60 and older will live in Washington County by 2015. Of those, 8,425 will live in Hagerstown.

The commissioners agreed that a center should be built, but they were hesitant Tuesday to commit money to the project.

"We just don't have any of the details at this point," said Commissioner William J. Wivell, who noted that the Commission on Aging has not found a site for the center and has not completed a cost estimate for the project.

The Commission on Aging should have a site for the center selected by January, according to Board of Directors member N. Linn Hendershot.

The commissioners appointed President John F. Barr and County Administrator Gregory B. Murray to serve on a committee with Commission on Aging members to develop plans for a senior center.

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