Senior center gets new management
Northwest Wisconsin Community Services Agency’s moved a step closer to operating the Superior-Douglas County Senior Center, 1527 Tower Ave.
The center’s board gave notice Thursday to the city that it would end its agreement and give up rights to the facility June 30 so NWCSA can begin managing the building July 1.
Millie Rounsville, director of NWCSA, said they are excited about the new venture. NWCSA operates 55 programs in Ashland, Bayfield, Douglas, Iron and Price counties, including nine food shelves and three shelters.
In Superior, NWCSA manages Solid Rock Safe Haven and Soup Kitchen, WIC: Women, Infants and Children, and Memory Lane Adult Day Respite Program. The services promote wellness activities and help improve quality of life. The goal is to provide resources, and meet local needs and work in the community.
“We are excited to finally move forward,” Rounsville said. “We appreciate the help we received and our partners.”
“We have been in the community since 1967,” Rounsville said. “We have various programs and a lot of partners, so it will be a smooth transition.”
City leaders say there a few explanations as to why the senior center’s managers wanted to change hands after so many years.
“It was time for a change,” said Jack Sweeney, city councilor and senior center board member. “We talked to previous management and everyone wanted a change.”
The reasons for the change are many.“It was a combination of things,” said Mayor Bruce Hagen. “Some of the workers don’t have as much time, some want to retire and there has been a financial management crisis.”
The senior center has faced a number of obstacles over the last few years, particularly financial obstacles. The most recent complication was when the center’s 30-year-old director was arrested in February on allegations he stole more than $10,000 from the center.
“I respect the senior center workers, and they have done a wonderful job over the years,” Hagen said. “However, they faced a few difficulties between part time managers, not enough outreach, trouble paying certain bills and having the director arrested kind of left officials in a tough financial situation.”
The Superior City Council approved the change in management at its June 3 meeting. Senior Connections, which leases space in the senior center, also submitted a proposal to operate the center, but NWCSA provided a more cost-effective plan.
“They (NWCSA) have been in this type of business for a while and do a lot of work with the seniors,” Hagen said. “They are very experienced and confident when it comes to being the best. I believe they will be offering more tax and wellness programs.”
“I think NWCSA will improve things at the senior center,” Sweeney said. “I anticipate that they will provide a lot more activities and do a great job managing the facility.”
Rounsville said they are working on the next steps.
NWCSA officials don’t plan to change any programs or activities anytime soon. They are looking to have a manager for the building and meeting with the members.
Our next step involves getting feedback from the seniors,” Rounsville said. “Nothing is being changed right now. The seniors will continue to have their activities.”