Group calls for changes at Geneva Senior Center

By GREG SCELLIN
Signal Editor

A standing-room-only crowd of over 60 reminded the Geneva City Council at its regularly-scheduled meeting last week that something still needs to be done to improve the Geneva Senior Center.
Senior Center director Kelly Stroh told the city council on March 7 to seriously consider the future of the Geneva Senior Center.  Stroh said that the memorial fund account for the center currently has a balance of $300,000 and could be used in part to improve the center, which, in her opinion, falls short in: seating capacity; parking; safety issues; not being ADA compliant; and security.
She also said a committee has been meeting regularly to discuss the Geneva Senior Center.
“We just feel there’s a sense of urgency with the things that are happening…,” Stroh said.  “We just want to be a part of the conversation.  We want you to keep us on your radar.”
Dr. Carroll Verhage told the city council he feels its important to keep the Geneva Downtown Gym open for community use and encouraged the city council to convey this message to the Fillmore Central School Board.  He also said he feels some rearranging to the west of the senior center could be done to expand the center’s overall space.
Daryl Strothkamp said he feels the current FC superintendent is purposely sabotaging the old gym (which is owned by the school district, along with the senior center area) by neglecting it.  He said windows are not being repaired and routine maintenance items aren’t being done at the gym.
“It looks like our city is collapsing when you take a good look at it,” Strothkamp said.
Many in the audience agreed that the gym should be saved and kept as a community center.  They also agreed that with it deteriorating, a push to add a new gym at the FC High School becomes more attractive.
“We appreciate your concern and will keep an eye on it,” Geneva Mayor Rod Norrie said.  “I think it will be interesting to watch what the school board decides to do.”
The possibility of adding bathrooms to the west part of the gym or senior center was discussed.  It was also mentioned that Geneva banker Hugh Wilkins might be willing to relinquish ownership of the building attached to the senior center to the west.  The possibility of moderate updating and remodeling of the downtown gym was mentioned.
Fillmore County Senior Services director Brenda Motis reminded the city council on March 7 that this same group of concerned citizens has been before the council a couple of times in the past.
“Hopefully, we can get something accomplished this time,” Motis said.
Other meeting notes from March 7 included:
• Norrie recognized several local Boy Scouts who were in attendance at the meeting working on communication badges.
• Craig Vincent with NPPD led a lengthy presentation about his company’s current activities.
• Fillmore County Emergency Management director Jim Dunker presented NIMS badges to city council members and city staff.
• Geneva City Administrator Kyle Svec reported the city has begun the hiring process for summer help.  He also noted the annual GAED Youth Basketball and Wrestling Tournaments were big successes again this year.  “I would like to compliment Valerie for coordinating the entire tournament and Jill and Brandi for their help as site managers for the events.”

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