Archuleta Seniors Inc. seeks local support for grant opportunity

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By Christina Knoell | Area Agency on Aging

Because no community funding partners currently exist, a request to the state of Colorado of $5.4 million for a new Archuleta County Senior Center building was not granted. 

The grant committee encouraged the Archuleta Seniors Inc. (ASI) to apply for a Round 2 opportunity for the July deadline, with $5.7 million at stake. Archuleta County remains a vital contender for this grant. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure that older adults in Archuleta County have a building of their own with supportive services that they need. 

 The immediate monetary need is $100,000 from the community to strengthen a Round 2 application. All donations are tax-exempt. ASI has identified a building to purchase as a senior center which will allow for a much-needed expanded space and services. 

The ASI grant application proposes a $2 million request. The proposed budget will include a building purchase and the necessary renovations for a large dining room, food storage, offices, a large commercial kitchen and space for activities. 

ASI has been fortunate to rent space in the Ross Aragon Community Center. The other senior centers in the southwest Colorado region receive their spaces rent-free as they are under county support; however, ASI pays $2,300 monthly for kitchen, dining room and office space. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ASI has seen an increase in demand for services and more room is needed to respond to the needs of the growing older adult population in Archuleta County. 

ASI’s objectives are to expand programs for more consistent services and opening more options for nutrition programs, social activities, wellness and education classes/support groups. Longer-term plans include providing housing for older adults and a recently approved grant to build a growing dome that will enhance the nutrition program meals. 

The current Senior Center space encounters office-hour restrictions. ASI staff and participants must vacate the Senior Center building by 4:30 p.m. each day for evening use by the Town of Pagosa Springs. These space restrictions do not allow for expanded services beyond ASI’s goals and objectives. 

After a larger Senior Center is established, there could be opportunities for rental income that may include wedding reception events, fundraising events and community gatherings to bring in diverse income that will ultimately help sustain the cost of maintaining a building. 

The Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and ASI are organizations that provide specific supportive services to the aging adult and people living with disabilities population. Often, people are not looking for senior supportive services until they need it that very moment. It is not something one plans for, and when an aging loved one is declining and needing supportive care, organizations like AAA and ASI are a valuable resource. 

If senior supportive services interest you or if the mission of helping keep older adults in the community for as long as they are able speaks to your heart, please consider donating to ASI by calling (970) 264-2167. You may also mail your donation to P.O. Box 3444, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. For general information about ASI, please visit http://www.psseniors.org/.