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Kiowa County Signal - Kiowa County, KS
  • Wickland, board ‘proud’ as construction begins on Senior Center

  • The Kiowa County Senior Center is the newest building slated for construction in Greensburg with plans to begin soil work this week. The Senior Center will join the Big Well Museum and the Family Dollar building as one of three projects in Greensburg with a Spring 2012 completion date.


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  • The Kiowa County Senior Center is the newest building slated for construction in Greensburg with plans to begin soil work this week. The Senior Center will join the Big Well Museum and the Family Dollar building as one of three projects in Greensburg with a Spring 2012 completion date.
    But the Senior Center has not had an easy road of late, as they have needed to overcome an unforeseen budget gap that delayed their start date.
    “We had our groundbreaking ceremony on July 16,” said Kiowa County Council for the Aging Director John Wickland. “At that point we were fully funded for the project.”
    The 5,400 square foot building being built by Conco Construction out of Wichita had been budgeted at $650,000 with funds from insurance, local donations and grant funding from U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Kansas Department of Commerce and the Community Service Tax Credit program.
    “At the groundbreaking we were fully funded,” continued Wickland. “But we had not yet gone out to bid.”
    The center began taking construction bids in July. In August, when the bidding process was completed, Wickland and the board members were surprised by the result.
    “All of the bids came higher than we had anticipated. That has delayed the project about a month,” Wickland said.
    Wickland and his board members were able to work with Conco, which had previously built the Dillons Kwik Shop, to reduce the cost of construction and have successfully reallocated funds to close their funding gap. “Last Tuesday we held a pre-construction meeting with Conco, USDA, our architect Spangenberg-Phillips-Tice and our sub-contractors anticipating a Monday Oct. 10 start date.”
    Funding for the building has been boosted by the Community Service Tax Credit, which provides a 70 percent state tax credit for all donations made to the project. Wickland estimates he’s been able to secure approximately $95,000 of local pledges through the program, which has allotted the building a $195,000 cap on tax credit returns.
    “We have not collected on those pledges yet, but we’re going to start sending out letters in the next several weeks to remind people of their pledge and to follow up with them, “ continued Wickland. “We’d like to know what month they would like to pledge. For a lot of people it’s the end of the year.”
    Wickland feels confident that the tax credits, which will essentially return $70 of every $100 pledged, will be used up — if not locally then through other donors in the state who will benefit from the high donation reimbursement.
    Operating out of their temporary location inside the Methodist Church, the Senior Center has been limited in the amount of services and activities it can provide. Wickland envisions a facility that can offer a wider range of services and provide a place for area seniors to socialize and stay active in their community.
    Page 2 of 2 - “The hours have yet to be determined, but they will be based in the needs of the community,” Wickland said. “In my mind I see eight hours a day, maybe five to six days a week. We will be offering the same sorts of things we’ve been offering but in greater quantity and in greater numbers. Also we’ll offer things we haven’t been able to offer like games, exercise, health and legal services. But arguably the most important part of it is giving seniors an opportunity to get together, play games and socialize. My vision is that our big porch, that will be facing Main Street, will be a place for seniors during the summer months to drink their coffee and eat their donuts in the morning and in the spring and fall months have a place to eat their lunch.”
    The post-tornado project, which has an updated budget of approximately $750,000, has been the adopted-pet project of Wickland who took over working on the building in January 2009, though the Kiowa County Council on Aging had been planning the building since the 2007 tornado destroyed their building on North Main St. Wickland expressed his feelings and the feelings of the executive board as “positive” and proud of the years of work that has brought the four year old project within six months of completion.
    “There is a feeling from a lot of us that we won’t believe it is really happening until we see it with our own eyes. ” 
    editor@kiowacountysignal.com
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