Wheeling unveils plans for new community room; seniors cite concerns
Wheeling village trustees this week got a look at a proposed $1.6 million project that would add a community room onto the southwest side of the village hall.
The room would be open to various community groups and events, including the senior congregate dining program, homeowners association meetings, economic development breakfasts and citizen police academy meetings.
Unveiling of the proposed renderings struck a negative chord with some village seniors. The addition will be funded partially by the $875,000 from the June 2015 sale of the Wheeling Pavillion Senior Center, 199 N. First St., to Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Center. The village has been leasing the building since then while a new home is found for programs there.
According to preliminary plans, the additional $700,000 for the community room would come from the village's reserve fund as it is a new project, and nothing has been earmarked for it, Wheeling Village Manager Jon Sfondilis said Monday.
Village staff says the community room will help ease the burden on public building space in the village and provide a space for community groups to hold their meetings without needing a village staff member present.
Senior congregate dining will get priority over all other activities from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays, and spaces in the parking lot will be reserved for the dining participants during those hours, village staff said.
The dining program is funded by the Federal Administration on Aging and through the Illinois Department on Aging. Between 25 and 40 seniors utilize the program daily.
But with other senior programming planned to be held in the Wheeling Park District's community recreation center -- also in the village municipal campus -- Wheeling seniors Monday said switching back and forth between two buildings could prove difficult for seniors, who now move easily from program to program.
Village staff Monday said they will make sure getting between buildings won't be a problem, and that the changed location will result in improved services.
"That environment (the community recreation center) provides much more to the senior population than a stand-alone building," Sfondilis said.