Susie Casto, Belpre Senior Center Director

About 50 senior citizens attended the Belpre City Council meeting Monday

Location of Senior Center Expansion

when the first reading of legislation to finance the Belpre Senior Citizens Center expansion passed.

Council unanimously passed the first of three readings on the ordinance to allow the city to take out a loan to fund the expansion of the senior center.

Peoples Bank will provide the financing of $79,250 over two years at a rate of 3.25 percent, if the ordinance is passed in all three readings.

It was decided during a council finance committee meeting last week for the city to take out a loan to fund the nearly $115,00 expansion instead of taking the money out of various city funds. Grants and other funds have been given to the city for the project.

The other money needed for the project will come from $20,525 given to the city from the Washington County senior levy last fall.

At the time Councilwoman Susan Abdella, chairman of the finance committee, and city auditor Leslie Pittenger said a loan was the best way to go because of a drop in income tax revenue.

The plan is to construct a 1,500-square-foot building attached to the senior center into Howes Grove Park to expand the facility by almost double the space.

An expansion of the physical structure is needed because usership of the facility has grown since the city joined forces with the O’Neill Center in Marietta in the fall of 2008, according to Mayor Mike Lorentz and Belpre Senior Center manager Susie Casto.

Audience members at the council meeting thanked the council and city officials for their work.

” I want to thank council for the past support,” Casto said. “I want to remind people that these activities come down to the point of helping the seniors be healthy, independent and productive, which allows them, their families and the city to benefit.”

Belpre senior Garnette Foutty told council she is grateful for the senior center and enjoys that it is growing.

“I think our senior center is one of the most important parts of our city and for those of us who don’t and can’t drive, the bus is really a wonderful blessing,” Foutty said. “I really appreciate it more than I can tell you; the center is really a wonderful addition to our city.”

The second reading of the ordinance will be held during the June 28 council meeting.

“This legislation should move swiftly through the legislative process,” said council president Will Neff

**This is an article from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel, June 15, 2010 by Jolene Craig.