Sunday, May 11, 2003

$500,000 grant is 'win-win' for all

Edgewood plans community center

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

EDGEWOOD - For the first time in this community's 55-year history, residents will soon have a permanent meeting place for youth organizations, senior citizens social clubs and other groups.

City Administrator Roger Rolfes described the $500,000 grant for the Edgewood Senior and Community Center as "a win-win for everybody."

"It's a big day for Edgewood," Rolfes said. "Rep. Jon Draud (R-Crestview Hills) did a tremendous job for us in helping walk the grant through Frankfort."

A leader of the Golden Age Social Club said that group's 125 members ranging in age from 60 to 104 "will finally have a place we can call our own."

"We're guaranteed a rent-free space with plenty of parking that will seat up to 200 people," said Edgewood resident Roy Holten, 76. Three months ago, the Golden Age Social Club switched its meeting place from the St. Pius Church hall to a Crestview Hills retirement center because of ongoing renovations at St. Pius.

Edgewood's grant is part of $2.5 million in federal Community Development Block grant funds awarded by the state this week to projects in five cities.

Edgewood was one of 21 applicants competing for money for community projects, said Myralee Smith-Cowley of Kentucky's Department for Local Government. The Kenton County city received a top priority ranking based on project need, effectiveness and the town's ability to match at least 25 percent of the center's cost. Edgewood will contribute $200,000 toward the center.

"The mayor and council took the position from the beginning that we would do this project without any kind of a tax increase," Rolfes said.

At Monday night's city council meeting, Edgewood officials will hear a proposal on a new electronic bidding process aimed at helping the city get "the absolute best price'' on the project, Rolfes said.

The 6,160-square-foot center will be built between a soccer field and Thomas More Parkway in Edgewood's Freedom Park, Rolfes said. It will be used for such activities as community programs, concerts and soccer and youth football registrations.

"The main emphasis will be on senior-related activities," Rolfes said. "There will be health screenings, crime prevention programs and lots of social activities."

"So often, women outlive their spouses and they have no family in town and very limited income," said Donna Oehler, director of institutional advancement at Senior Services of Northern Kentucky. "That senior center can be a lifeline for them."

Besides offering nutritious meals and health and wellness screening, senior centers help prevent isolation, which can lead to depression, Oehler said.

The grant award also means that Edgewood can divert money it would have spent on a new community center to a $4.7 million municipal building, Rolfes said. The 35,000-square-foot project will bring police, fire and city administrative offices under one roof. It also will replace outdated facilities for a more efficient operation.

No timetable has been set for construction of the new municipal building.


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