SEAFORD, Del. - On Tuesday Aug. 31, 2010, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) was pleased to announce a $99,000 discretionary grant through the Department of Health and Human Services for the Nanticoke Senior Center in Seaford, Del. Sen. Carper had been scheduled for more than a month to visit and talk with seniors about health care that day and got the message about this grant the morning of his visit, so he was able to share it upon his arrival. For over a year, Sen. Carper's staff met with community leaders, providing opportunities for federal funding and advice.
"Our new center will benefit the whole community of Seaford and the surrounding area, so thank you for supporting Delaware and, especially, our senior population," said Sue Franckowiak, Nanticoke Senior Center Executive Director.
The Nanticoke Senior Center initiated a $1.3 million capital campaign to renovate an existing 11,000 sq. ft. senior Center facility in the heart of Seaford. The leadership of the center decided it would be fiscally responsible to purchase an existing building and renovate it to their specific needs instead of building a new facility, so they purchased the Seaford Golf and Country Club and are renovating the former clubhouse. The golf course is still maintained and operated by the City of Seaford. Sen. Carper cites this project as a model for the re-use of the existing country club facility while meeting the needs of the broader community.
Renovations planned for the new facility include a senior-friendly fitness area, office space and retrofitting the building so it is more handicapped accessible for their members, including bathroom facilities, ramps, and covered entrances into the facility. They will also install a sprinkler system and renovate the large kitchen. The Senior Center's meal program offers over 500 well-balanced meals to seniors each week. These meals are served both in-house to able members and are delivered by a team of over 30 volunteers to homebound seniors throughout the greater Seaford area, so having a renovated kitchen will aid the center in meeting those needs.
"Sen. Carper seems to really understand the importance of not just providing seniors with health care and prescriptions, but the services and information that this center provides to seniors, like nutritious meals, health screenings, an affordable fitness center and frequent social interactions that provide a quality of life that makes life worth living," said Rob Harman, Campaign Chair for the Generations Campaign. "Our mission is to help the aging population remain healthy and active and be an active part of the community longer. The seed funding of this facility will pay dividends for generations to come."
In recent years the Seaford region has grown older, due both to the aging of its native population and an influx of retirement-age residents. The new Center's "life enhancement" orientation will keep Seaford seniors physically and mentally strong so that they can continue to be independent, contributing members of the community. Currently, 32% of Seaford's 7,085 residents are over the age of 55 and within the next two decades, nearly 38% of the population will be seniors.