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Senior Center work moving along; more funds needed

Posted 8/18/15 (Tue)

Senior Center work moving along; more funds needed

By John D. Taylor
The Fortuna Senior Center is undergoing renovations.
“When it’s done, we’re going to be real pleased,” said Orlynne Dahl, board member.
Stubbs Builders of Crosby has been working on the center for the last couple of weeks, according to Gary Rust. 
As of last Thursday, they had the roofing and some of the outside work done, new siding -- a special wood, dipped in a 30-year warranty paint -- was coming, and the basement work was started.
The senior center’s renovation has been about a year in coming, according to Dahl.
She said the community’s half-dozen seniors intended to begin the work last year, but simply couldn’t get to it before the narrow building season window closed.
“The five or six seniors in Fortuna are all older,” Dahl said. “Elaine is 90, we’re 84, the rest are in their 70s. We thought we could do this last year, but we didn’t get to it.”
There are several reasons the senior center needed a makeover, Dahl and Rust said.
One is necessity.
“The building simply needed work,” Dahl said. “The siding was bad, the roof needed to be replaced, the windows were not able to be opened, so people could escape, if necessary. The doors were not wide enough to serve newer, wider wheelchairs and the ramps were in poor shape.”
Another problem was the basement. It was wet and tested positive for radon.
Breathing high concentrations of colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive radon gas has been linked to lung cancer. So a radon abatement system, to remove the low-hanging gas from the basement floor will be installed, to  take care of the problem with a PVC exhaust system.
Rust said the basement moisture issue will be treated with drain tiles and a moisture barrier — a plastic tarp covering the entire floor — under 3 inches of  new concrete.
Also included in the renovation plans are a wall and patio area in the rear of the building.
The second reason for the work has to do with the building’s purpose.
Both Dahl and Rust said the senior center serves as a community shelter in the event of an emergency.
“It’s a Red Cross disaster building,” she said. “In the event of a catastrophe, the community was to gather there because it has a kitchen and a bathroom and beds could be set up if they were needed.
This made the work even more imperative.
So the seniors asked Gary Rust for some help.
Rust found them a $150,000 community block grant through Tri-County Regional Development,  with the help of Everette Enno, to pay for the work.
The grant stipulates the community must kick in 25 percent of the cost, so now the community has to raise $25,000, Rust said. 
“We haven’t decided how to do this yet,” she said. “Carl (her husband) has been in the hospital.”
However, they are looking for benefactors who might help, or simply an idea for successful fundraising.
For more information, contact Rust at 834-2365 or Dahl at 982-3512.