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Community Transit seeking matching funds for new bus

You see them out and about almost every day. The Community Transit vans and bus in Lennox are always on the move, transporting children to school, seniors to the Senior Center, or citizens to the dental and medical clinics, hair salons, grocery store, drug store, or to appointments in Sioux Falls, Canton or Tea.

Gene Valentien, who directs the local nonprofit transportation program, recently reported that the State has announced that they will no longer approve repairs on the 2003 bus and are requiring the City to retire that particular vehicle in 2017. A new bus could be provided to the community within a year. The cost of this bus is $94,000. Federal and state grants can be obtained in the amount of $75,000, leaving Lennox Community Transit responsible for $19,000. If the community is unable to raise this amount, Lennox will have to forfeit the new bus and it will go to the next community in line for a bus.

Lennox Community Transit has opened an account at Valley Exchange Bank in Lennox to accept contributions for the $19,000 matching funds needed for the new bus. Their hope is that Lennox, Chancellor, and Worthing businesses as well as residents will realize the urgency of the need for a new bus and help them meet their goal by Dec., 2017. You can send your memorial/donation to Bus Account, Valley Exchange Bank, PO Box 19, Lennox, SD 57039 or stop at the bank in Lennox.

The new bus will be a 20 passenger bus with a chair lift and two spots on board for wheelchairs. The bus will need to be ordered in February of 2017, Valentien explained. The community will receive the bus about nine months later, provided they have the funds for their portion.

The mission of the Community Transit is to provide safe and affordable transportation to area residents. In January 2016, they increased their fees to $2 per in-town ride, and $15 per ride to Sioux Falls or Canton. Lennox Community Transit transports 52 Lennox and Worthing preschoolers each day and 22 Kindergarten and older students each day. These rates allow our elderly population to remain in their homes as long as possible; as well as provide affordable school transportation for our community’s parents.

“If you believe in the system, you should help us out,” said Valentien. “It is a good program, one of the best I’ve seen.”

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