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Senior citizens express concern about City leasing Senior Center

The City of Lennox is considering leasing the Senior/Community Center to a business.

It was in August 2021 when Lennox City Administrator Nathan Vander Plaats presented to the council the idea of having the City take control of the Lennox Senior Center at 519 S. Main St. The City took over management of the building this January.

This was due in part because the Active Generations (which provides meal service) announced in May 2021 that with the retirement of the Lennox cooks, they would no longer prepare meals onsite but only serve meals at the Lennox site.

At that time Vander Plaats said, “I would like to move forward with discussions to bring the building back under control of the City of Lennox as the Lennox Community & Senior Center. The City would allow LEE and the Senior Citizens boards to utilize the building under a very low lease rate for their existing and future activities, and would take over the lease to Active Generations for their proposed amount.”

Lennox Life Enrichment for the Elderly Committee (LEE) has been managing the use of this building with a no cost lease from the City since 2006; originally the term of this lease was for 30 years.

During Monday night’s Council meeting it was alluded that there is a possibility the City may lease the building to a business. Although the Senior/Community Center was not on the agenda, three Lennox residents affiliated with the Senior Citizens group spoke during the ‘Visitors to be Heard’ portion of the meeting.

One resident pointed out that the building was built in 2005 with a with a grant and donations of money and time from the community. Many groups have used and are using this building, she stated, “Sanford Health and Foot Care, Meals on Wheels, Senior Meetings, congregate meals, receptions, Township and City meetings, graduations, showers, funeral lunches and other community activities. Where else can someone rent an awesome facility as this building for such an affordable rental fee of $100 in Lennox? It needs to be promoted and not abandoned.”

Another resident said the Seniors would pay to use the building and said no one ever came back and said they wanted everything different.

Apparently, the City of Lennox has approached area churches to use their locations for distribution of the Meals on Wheels and other group activities

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