By Scott Bolthouse
Hub Editor In Chief
A multi-purpose senior center will be built in Huron Township within the next six months, according to Cara Vandiver, Operations Manager for the township’s Community Development Department.
The project is being funded through Wayne County Community Development Block Grant funds (CDBG) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Originally slated and designed to be a senior bus facility, HUD deeming the project ineligible last year due to the fact that the first design had garage doors on the building.
Vandiver said that they wanted to keep the same look as the original proposal, so they redesigned the building to look similar to the old sketches, but without garage doors.
The CDBG is a federally funded program and according to Vandiver — who is the administrator of the program in Huron — twice per year the development department must get a feel from the residents regarding what types of projects they would like to see the money used for in the community.
“If we don’t get feedback from residents, we use the monies for seniors or housing rehab,” she said.
The plan for the senior center has been an ongoing project, requiring the use of CDBG funds from the year 2012 all the way up through the current date.
“With grant monies, especially CDBG monies, you have your different banks. With senior monies, you’re limited to what you can use it for. The guidelines are specific to federal guidelines,” said Vandiver.
The grant monies need to be spent by August 11.
The Huron Board of Trustees approved for the project to be awarded to the lowest bidder during the July 8 meeting.
A recommendation for a qualified bidder will come from Hennessey Engineers, Inc.
The building — which will be a 48 feet by 44 feet barn-style construction — will consist of bathrooms, a craft area, a kitchen and will generally be bigger than the current senior center, allowing it to be used for bigger functions.
Although it is uncertain if the building will be allowed to be used for functions outside of senior use, planners are hoping other entities will be able to benefit from the project in the future.
It’s location will be near the area of the current senior center, which sits at 28245 Mineral Springs Road, New Boston, MI.
The building will sit on the south side of the fire station, which sit’s adjacent to the current senior center.
No parking spaces will be eliminated by the new construction, Vandiver said.
Vandiver believes that the new building will benefit seniors due to the facilities that the center will provide. Facilities such as bathrooms and a kitchen will be readily available during activities and events.
A more detailed presentation will be made at a future board meeting once the project is in full swing.