Senior citizens in the Town of Alden need a new van, and several members of the Alden Senior Citizen Club attended the town board meeting Monday night to let board members know.
The current van being used by the senior center “is in bad shape,” said senior van driver Petra Sojka during a public hearing held to discuss the possible use of Federal Community Development Funds in the town. “It’s always breaking down.”
The town applied for the grant last year, but did not receive it, said Councilwoman Mary Riddoch. The intention then was to look into purchasing a new van, just as it is now, she said.
“We’re trying again this year,” she said. “Now it’s to the point of where it’s almost desperation because there are so many things wrong with it.”
Seniors in the town depend on the van to go shopping, attend doctors appointments and participate in social functions, Sojka said.
“If I don’t take them, they don’t go,” she said.
The van also provides an opportunity for seniors to eat lunch together through the town’s Senior Lunch Program. Without the transportation available to the seniors, it would be difficult to run the program, said Nutrition Director Donna Zinter.
“I think the van is a great thing for them, and I think it’s necessary to get a new one,” she said.
If the town does get the grant, it won’t be until the end of the year, and the current van will have to make it through the winter and spring, Riddoch said.
Norman Taylor, president of the Alden Senior Citizen Club, thanked the board for looking into purchasing a new van. “In many cases, the use of the van has become a necessity in the lives of many seniors,” he said.
Also at Monday’s meeting:
• Town Engineer Michael Metzger has contacted two companies who make GPS devices for truck drivers and presented the town’s concerns over the traffic on West Main Street. One of the companies has initiated a study to look into the issue, Metzger said.
The Department of Transportation also re-measured the bridge on Broadway, and confirmed that the height listed is correct. The state may look into changing that section of Broadway from four lanes to two lanes. The idea is to narrow the road down to the point where the height of the bridge above the lanes is 14 feet, Metzger said, meaning the sign listing the bridge as 12 feet 8 inches could be removed.
• A public hearing will be held during the town board meeting on Oct. 21 at 7:05 p.m. to discuss the preliminary budget for 2014.