Red Cross to relocate in Shep.; senior citizens to utilize space

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By Stephen Thomas

 SHEPHERDSVILLE — Not only did the Bullitt County Senior Citizens Center get a check from the county, it also got a lot more space.

Kim Embry, director of the Multi-Purpose Community Action Agency, which operates senior and low-income programs in Bullitt, Shelby and Spencer counties, was seeking the county’s annual pledge of $15,000.

For the past two years, the county government has provided $15,000 in funding for the facility in exchange for the services provided for the community.

Embry said that Bullitt County provides more services than the other two counties and is already running in the red at the local agency.

She said the contribution is a major help for the agency, which provides a variety of services, including the senior center, distribution of heat assistance funds and meals for those who are homebound.

With federal and grant funding always in short supply, Embry said the agency is looking to apply for Metro United Way funds in Bullitt County.

Also, she said Shelby County contributes $25,000 to the agency.

Bullitt County Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts said she would like to see future contributions increase to at least $17,000.

One question raised by state Rep. Linda Belcher was the cost of having meals delivered to the homes. Shepherdsville center director Mary Wilson said 55 people are on a waiting list and 29 are currently being served through assistance from the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Area.

Embry said the cost of delivering a meal is about $12 a day when including all the costs. Due to the work of volunteers, the cost is less than that and KIPDA provides some of the funding through a contract with Masterson’s Catering.

If more people were served, Embry said there would be a need for more volunteers and local personnel.

After securing the funding, the agency also saw its space to provide programs grow.

With the move of the American Red Cross to the old EMS facility off Saltwell Drive, the front portion of the biulding on Frank E. Simon Avenue will soon be utilized by the senior citizens.

Wilson said the demand for senior programs continues to grow and the extra space would be needed. Currently, when classes or programs are offered, chairs and tables must be taken down and stored in order to make space for other programs.

The county provides the facility rent-free to the MPCAA programs.

When the Red Cross was asked to vacate, county officials talked about the possibility of renting the front portion of the building. Possible tenants included law offices and the state probation and parole office, which is currently located in the old Shepherdsville City Hall building.

The state has twice taken solicitations for lease options for the probation and parole offices. Recently, a one-year extension was approved by the Shepherdsville City Council.

The American Red Cross and Bullitt Fiscal Court have a tentative lease agreement for the new facility but that must still be approved by the national American Red Cross.

Once renovations are complete and the lease approved, the relocation will be done.