Marinette officials to review Niagara Senior Citizens Center
By LISA M. REED
NIAGARA, Wis. – Marinette County officials will tour the site of the Niagara Senior Citizens Ltd. to determine what it will cost to repair the roof and exterior of the building.
Al Sauld, a Niagara supervisor for the Marinette County Board, said the issue of the building’s condition came up when the center’s five-year lease was up for renewal on Dec. 31, 2012.
He said the building has had no real maintenance in 36 years.
“It’s going to need a new roof in a few years and considerable work on the exterior,” Saul said.
Built in 1976-77, the Niagara Senior Citizens Ltd. was funded by Marinette County with a matching grant.
Marinette County Health and Human Services utilizes one side of the building while the Niagara Senior Citizens Ltd. utilizes the other.
Joetta Bartolec, director of the Niagara Senior Citizens Ltd., said the county board is concerned with the front of the building and the roof.
“They are not happy with the original design of the windows. They are not energy-efficient,” she said.
The senior center pays $1 per year to lease the building.
As per the maintenance agreement, the senior center pays to fix broken items less than $1,000. Sauld said the senior center has put in a new furnace, power doors, installation, hot water heater and done quite a bit of mechanical work on the building.
Bartolec added the future of the Niagara Senior Center is important to the area.
“It’s a great place for programs and to come together,” she said. “The senior center is the focal point of Niagara since everything that has happened.”
On Thursday, Jan. 24 at 9:30 a.m., Sauld, Mike Behnke, chairman of the building and property committee,and John Machnik, county facilities director, will inspect the facility and determine a cost estimate.
A cost estimate to either fix the building or perhaps tear it down a build a new one will be made after that date.
“My hope is it will stay open,” Sauld said. “There’s a problem with the design of the building, and it can be taken care of.”
The Niagara Senior Citizens Ltd. provides meals and fellowship for area senior citizens.
Marinette County Elderly Services, managed by Kathy Schutte, provides meals for seniors.
“The meal site will continue someplace. The center may not,” Bartolec said.
Bartolec said that once a month, the senior center hosts a spaghetti dinner fundraiser. She said the support for that has been overwhelming.
“Private donations and businesses really do believe in the future of the Niagara Center,” said Bartolec, crediting the seven members of the Niagara Board of Directors. “They have worked hard and are working with a shoe string budget.”
Located at 569 Washington Ave., the center is the only county-owned senior center.
Lisa M. Reed’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.