By: Carmen Rideout
As early as 2000, the Senior Citizen’s Council board of directors began planning to meet the needs of the large numbers of baby boomers who would reach the age of 65 between 2011 and 2030.
In 2014, we renovated and invested in the future of senior facilities and services in Sheridan County with a new adult day care facility, expansion of the Goose Creek Transit facility, and expansion and renovation of our main building. The last phase of this series of projects was the relocation for the growing Help at Home program outside the existing Hub facility due to lack of space.
While considering options for the Help at Home relocation, The Hub was gifted nearly 1/2 acre in additional land adjacent to the existing facility. This gift presented the opportunity to evaluate ways in which the gifted property and the existing facilities could be reconfigured to better deliver integrated services to our senior population.
In the spirit of service to our customers, we hired QC10 Architects of Sheridan in fall 2019 to develop a master plan for the Hub. This master plan proposed the development of an integrated services Support Center and the expansion of the existing Hub facility to house the Help at Home program, rather than renovating or building at a separate location.
In March 2020, we initiated a series of public listening sessions at the Hub to share our findings and ideas, to test our assumptions, and to hear input from Hub customers and the broader community. We also invited input through the Hub website. As the COVID-19 crisis curtailed public gatherings, we also mailed out a survey to solicit community input.
The survey responses and other input we received were thoughtful and supportive, and we want to thank everyone who took the time to participate. Respondents shared their appreciation of the Hub as a welcoming, comfortable space where they could meet their friends (we miss you all, too!). They supported and suggested improvements to expand meeting and activity space, create more private areas for those seeking confidential services, create outdoor dining spaces, and make better use of existing spaces with improvements to heating, cooling, and acoustics. Respondents also expressed broad support for expanded parking, additional access from Brooks Street, and integration with Whitney Commons and the pathway system.
We received many other good suggestions, and we will be looking for ways that these might be included in the master plan or incorporated into our programs:
Partnerships with other organizations
Providing “wrap-around services” for a more holistic approach
Improved access and visibility of the reception area
Meals, activities, and programs enhancement
Housing assistance/additional senior housing
Improvements to Hub website
Development of a grief program
We also want to acknowledge the concerns that were expressed in the public comments. We want to assure our customers and the community of our continuing commitment to growing the Loving Legacy Endowment and ensuring long-term financial stability for The Hub.
We are now actively exploring funding options for each of the master plan phases, finalizing the building plans and construction schedule, and carefully planning construction to minimize impacts to Hub users. We look forward to the day when we can resume full operations, and until then we continue to deliver services to help keep our customers safe and healthy as we weather the COVID-19 storm.
Learn more about The Hub on Smith services and the Hub master plan at thehubsheridan.org.