ADVERTISEMENT

Hamburg town officials hope to build a new adult day care center to expand the popular program that operates out of an old train depot on Pleasant Avenue.

“It’s a smaller facility that has begun to outgrow its useful life,” Supervisor Steven J. Walters said Monday during a Town Board work session. “There’s really no room to expand the current facility.”

The day center is open weekdays to those who need supervision and are unable to attend traditional senior center programs, including people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, strokes and those who are not well enough to operate independently. Going to the center provides caregivers a needed respite.

It opened quietly in 1996 and grew by word of mouth. The program is overseen by the Erie County Department of Senior Services and the state Health Department, and consistently gets high marks, said Director Shirley M. Spaulding. Walters said the program is at capacity.

The town is working with developer E.F. Burke and has identified several potential locations for a new building, Walters said. He declined to give specific addresses.

Board members endorsed the proposal Monday, and personnel from senior services, finance and the town attorney’s office will work on nailing down details over the next month.

The town will look into funding from federal Community Development Block Grant funds, as well as other state and federal grants, Walters said.

He said he expects the taxpayer contribution to the center to continue, but he does not want taxpayers to pay more for operating a larger building with more clients.

“It is a government facility, it is a service to the community. We certainly expect, as we do now, that there will be taxpayer contributions for the operation of the facility,” Walters said.

But he said he doesn’t want the town share to grow with a larger facility.

He said he hopes a location, cost estimates and funding will be identified by March.

When Walters was preparing the 2007 budget, some residents accused him of proposing the elimination of the adult day care program, when he proposed increasing revenues for the center in the budget.

Many residents decried that proposal, fearing a drastic increase in fees would end the program.

Walters said Monday night he did not want to eliminate the program at that time, but wanted to boost the number of people using the center and revenues from them.

“My proposal wasn’t to close the building; my proposal was, ‘Let’s promote this facility, let’s get more people there,’ ” he said.

email: bobrien@buffnews.com