June 27, 2016

Partly sunny

Brunswick starts partnerships to serve senior citizens

BRUNSWICK— The city plans to partner with a well­ness center and a travel agency to provide services for senior citizens.

On Monday, City Council asked the Law Department to draw up legislation to allow Brunswick to enter agreements with Pearlview Rehab and Wellness Center and KHM Travel Group at no cost to the city. Both are based in Brunswick.

Citing budget restrictions, officials announced in September that senior coordinator Julianne Keco’s posi­tion will be eliminated after she retires next month.

Since then, officials have been looking for alternative coordinating and program­ming opportunities for seniors in the community, Parks and Recreation Director John Piep­sny told Council members.

Several seniors have appeared at Council meetings in the last month to object to cutting Keco’s position from the Brunswick Recreation and Fitness Center’s budget.

The city offered 26 trips for seniors this year, Piepsny said, ranging from gambling trips to excursions to Niagara Falls.

“We’re going to keep serv­ices, enhance them, and it won’t cost the city anything,” Piepsny said.

Any cost associated with the individual programs or trips would be the responsibility of the seniors who participate, which is consistent with how programs and trips have been handled, he said.

If approved, Pearlview would coordinate the health and wellness programs for seniors. According to the pro­posal the company submitted to the city, the center would use local businesses to offer seniors opportunities includ­ing cooking and art classes, educational guest speakers and exercise groups.

“Our goal is not to change what already exists but to add more activities to that list,” the proposal states.

In its proposal, KHM Travel states it would designate one person to work full time to coordinate senior trips for Brunswick. That person would meet with and survey seniors for their interests and plan several small trips to start, the proposal states.

Ward 3 Councilman Joseph Delsanter said the partner­ships would be symbiotic, benefiting the seniors and the organizations.

“This is a segment of the community that’s growing,” Delsanter said Thursday. “The city is addressing the older, active adults. Combining that with two entities that provide the programming and well­ness activities as well as the travel components, the out­look is very bright for servicing our senior community.”

Contact Jennifer Pignolet at (330) 721-4063 or jpignolet@medina-gazette.com.