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Dunkirk Senior Center expansion starting

A year after being announced, the Senior Center project is finally underway. Located on Cliffstar Court, the Dunkirk Senior Center is open to elderly citizens who wish to socialize and take part in a range of activities. In summer of 2018 the state, through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) awarded the city $750,000 for the upgrade and expansion of the center.

It was not long after that Dunkirk put together a proposal for what they wanted to do with the funding, and the state approved the city’s plan.

“First thing we have to do is go out to get requests for proposals for architecture consultants so the RFP (request for proposal) will be out this Monday,” Planning and Development Director Rebecca Wurster stated at the city’s Economic Development meeting Tuesday. “We will then begin reviewing those proposals.”

The project is to include an activity area, two physicians offices for rotating doctors, two new restrooms that are ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant and shower capabilities, two clerical offices and window and door replacements for more energy efficiency in the building.

“The ultimate goal of this project was to be able to increase services that are available at the Senior Center,” Wurster added. “Make it a sort of one-stop-shop for seniors that come there to enjoy all the great activities that are already there.”

Wurster went on to explain the different types of doctors they could secure, including one for dental care, one for orthopedics and perhaps another being a dietician.

“We’re going to have rotating offices that the Office of the Aging is going to coordinate as well,” Wurster said. “The activity area is going to include an adult day care area that will be available.”

This whole project will be a additional wing being placed on the building. The rough outline that is in place at the moment begins with proposals being submitted by Oct. 16 by 4 p.m. Then the city hopes to work with the chosen architect to put together plans throughout November, December and January. In early March, the city plans to go out to bid for contractors with construction in the spring and summer months.

Some concerns were shared at the meeting, one being parking lot improvements.

“The project wasn’t approved for any parking improvements,” Wurster shared. “But it’s being looked into for inclusions for another funding source.”

The kitchen was another issue brought up and according to the city, the Office of the Aging is looking into some other funding opportunities. However the city has a a plan in place to help.

“Depending on what the proposals come in at, what the price of the proposals are, we might be able to add a couple improvements in the kitchen or we might just be able to work with the architects to include some improvements in the plans and then do a phase two for the kitchen,” Wurster said. “We’re definitely not leaving the kitchen out, unfortunately this funding is for those specific pieces that were talked about. If we have any funding left over, then we’ll use it for the kitchen.”

At the Common Council meeting that took place afterward, Mayor Wilfred Rosas proudly announced the project’s beginning.

“The project includes plans to expand on new services to be made available for all seniors,” Rosas stated. “This is something that we’ve been working on for a couple of years now, our seniors have been to see me and they told me that they wanted some of these services. We then worked with the development department to put in for grant proposal to the state and we were granted that proposal and we’re now moving forward with that project.”

The grant was sought in a joint effort between with the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging.

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