A new space for seniors

Belmont County takes good care of its senior citizens, and that tradition continued last week with an announcement from the Board of Commissioners.

For many years, the people of Belmont County have consistently supported ballot measures to fund Senior Services. Those levies have provided for senior centers across the region as well as for a new agency headquarters and daily meal delivery to about 1,000 older residents.

On Wednesday, the commissioners revealed their decision to lease a new location for a senior center in Powhatan Point. On several occasions in recent weeks, representatives of seniors in that village had visited commissioners, asking for help. It seems their current building, which is owned by a separate Powhatan senior organization, is prone to flooding – and it is located across a busy highway from its parking area, making potentially dangerous for patrons to get there.

After hearing those concerns and considering a few different options, Commissioners Josh Meyer, J.P. Dutton and Jerry Echemann approved a four-year lease agreement with property owner Nathan Lehman for the building and land at 155 Clark St. in Powhatan Point. The lease term begins April 1 and expires March 31, 2023, at a cost of $1,000 a month.

That seems like a relatively small price to pay to ensure that the seniors of the village have a warm, safe place to gather. Echemann pointed out that the lease is for a well-constructed building.

Belmont County Senior Services Director Gary Armitage recommended the decision.

“We currently lease four other properties for centers in the county, so this is nothing new,” he said. “The attendees down there had some valid points. … We’re glad to be able to find a suitable building.”

Armitage said a few changes to the building’s interior will be necessary, but little work is needed before the seniors can move in. He added that the future of the Powhatan Senior Association’s current building is up to the members of that organization.

The commissioners were right to find a way to help the seniors of Powhatan. They were also right to take their time with the decision, in order to find the option that makes the most sense for both county coffers and for the older residents of the village and surrounding area.

Leasing the building appears to be the right decision for everyone.