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$1M secured in funding for seniors

Center gets new home, EMS station to be built

ROME TOWNSHIP — A proposed new home for the Sybene-Chesapeake Senior Center at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds, as well as a new EMS station for the eastern end of the county, appears likely to receive funding.

State Rep. Ryan Smith, R-93, announced that the legislature has passed the state capital budget, which invests $2.62 billion statewide, including $1 million in funding for the projects in Lawrence County.

Smith’s office said he worked with local government and community leaders to understand their needs and priorities.

“The capital budget represents the state’s commitment to and the importance of investing in our local communities,” Smith said. “I am very grateful to have secured funding for some of the projects within my district,” Smith said.

The senior center is currently located in a modular unit next to the Chesapeake Community Center at the village’s old high school.

Center director Darlene Green has said in the past that a larger facility would better serve the seniors who attend.

For instance, the center’s monthly “Our Day” dinners have drawn a crowd too large for the building, and Green has had to book those events at First Baptist Church in Proctorville to accommodate the hundreds who attend.

The center used to operate at a larger location in South Point, but was forced to leave after a funding level failed to pass with the county’s voters.

The Lawrence County Commission then secured the modular unit to give the center a home.

Plans have been in the works to relocate the center to a larger space. A move to the Proctor’s Landing senior living community was scrapped after it was determined that it offered no larger space.

Commissioner Freddie Hayes Jr. announced the funding during his presentation at the Meet the Candidates forum in Burlington on Thursday, after learning of it the night before. He said that he, along with commissioners. DeAnna Holliday and Bill Pratt, had worked with Smith in requesting the funding.

Hayes said the funds will also go toward building a new EMS station at the fairgrounds in Rome Township, which would serve the eastern end of the county.

It could also be used to pay down the cost of the new barn, which was recently built at the fairgrounds.

After passing in the Ohio Senate, House Bill 529 now heads to Gov. John Kasich for his consideration.