After more than two years, the Three Island Senior Citizens Center (TISC) has finally taken possession of a new passenger van. Billie Dillon, site coordinator and business manager for the Glenns Ferry senior citizens organization said the grant process to acquire the van began in January 2003.
ITD facilitated purchase and delivery of the Ford van that arrived Tuesday morning and was quickly put into service. It was used the same evening when patrons of TISC were transported to and from the center for the monthly potluck dinner.
Formal presentation of the van came during a brief ceremony Wednesday.
ITD representatives handed keys to another new van over to the Mountain Home Senior Center on Thursday. The event included the Mountain View High School band, Gladys Schroeder from Sen. Larry Craig's office, Mayor Joe McNeal and Elmore County Commissioner Larry Rose.
The new Glenns Ferry van accommodates up to 20 passengers, or 16 passengers and two wheelchairs.
A pneumatic lift makes it easy to load wheelchairs and their occupants into the wheelchair bays located at the rear of the van . When not in use, the area can accommodate four additional seats.
Drivers for the van must hold a Commercial Drivers Licensee (CDL), and four people have already volunteered their services, Dillon said.
The purchase of the van was made possible through by a $54,000 federal grant administered by ITD.
The van’s primary purpose is to transport senior citizens to and from the center on meal days (Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays), but also will be used for short excursions to other senior centers, or for field trips.
A plan is being developed that will provide transportation for senior citizens to and from doctor’s appointments in Boise, Twin Falls and Gooding at least once a month, Dillon said. Riders would be asked for a small donation to help with fuel costs. However, transportation to and from the center for participation in its nutrition program is free, Dillon explained.
Acquisition of the new van means the center will need to build a new garage and a new portico at the entrance of the center because both are too small.
To accomplish this task, the center is seeking an Idaho Community Block Grant of about $122,000. City officials have agreed to apply for the grant and assign the Three Island Senior Citizen Center as the grantee.
Each year, money for block grants is made available through
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The allocation for
fiscal year 2004-2005 is $10 million.
The Glenns Ferry city council voted to apply for the grant following a recent public hearing.
Several people, most of them TISC members, expressed their support of the proposal, as did Commissioner Rose.
Photo, story courtesy of the Glenns Ferry Gazette.