By Alicia Neaves
MIDLAND - Some seniors in Midland are demanding change. They want a better senior center.
In an e-mail addressed to members of the Midland City Council, members of the senior center sent a list of concerns about the facility.
"I like to come because it gives me a place where I can get a boost talking to people. Staying at home for an older person, sometimes it can get depressing. This is a good place to pick up your spirits," said Ted Battles, member of Midland Senior Center.
In the e-mail sent to the city council, some seniors addressed the need for parking.
"A number of these folks that come here have to park a good distance away and are expected to walk," said Charles Hodges, member of the Midland Senior Center.
When the Lifehouse Fellowship Church next door expanded, they were able to save a row of parking for the seniors. But it wasn't enough for some. In a letter, one senior suggested being picked up from the opposite side of the building.
"I made recommendations in [the letter] that they could have a shuttle. Have the people park over there. I park over there now and I walk through," said John Tominovich, Midland Senior Center member.
The e-mail also requested better food.
Administrators say the food is inspected by various agencies for quality. Sometimes, they say, that's the only nutritious meal seniors have per day.
"The diets are prepared in advance by a registered dietitian, they are nutritionally balanced, we have to follow the guidelines on ingredients and such to make sure that everything we send out has the most value, nutritionally, to our clients," said Jody Sneed, Executive Director of Senior Link Midland.
A better facility was also addressed. Councilman J. Ross Lacy toured the center.
"I've instructed staff to appropriate more funding with the senior center in our upcoming budget cycle to replace the ceiling tiles in the building. Also, to probably do more painting to clean the aesthetics and make it a more enjoyable experience," said Lacy.
"We want folks to feel valued, but at the same time, we have to work with them in case they're disappointed that we weren't able to do exactly what they like," said Sneed.
Administrators say if seniors have any concerns or recommendations, an advisory council is also on-hand to serve them.
"This would be the time to work with the city, to work with elected officials and come in a positive way rather than complain about the way things are. Let's start working on what they can be," said Sneed.
Councilman Lacy says the city will always fight their seniors and getting a new facility takes time.
"Currently right now in this budget cycle, the next budget cycle, I don't see that happening. But it's something we can push for," said Lacy.