City agreement will allow senior center to own new building - Life enhancement center to be built in Ross Business Park

By Lynn R. Parks

The Seaford City Council Tuesday night OK'd a land lease agreement with the Nanticoke Senior Center that allows the center to own the building that it plans to construct on city property. The 40-year lease agreement, with an option to renew for 10 additional years, stipulates that plans for the new senior center have to be submitted to the city by July 1 of next year. It also says that if the lease is terminated, any building on the property will go to the city. The senior center, currently sharing space with the Western Sussex Boys and Girls Club, plans to build a new "life enhancement center" on six acres in the city's Ross Business Park. The city had originally planned to own the building, in an agreement similar to those it has with the Seaford Volunteer Fire Department and the Soroptimist Club. But in April, Christy Pennington, a consultant with Horizon Philanthropic, Lewes, who is leading the effort to raise $2.37 million for the new senior center, told the council that fundraising could be more successful if the building that the organization is asking for money for will in the end be owned by the organization. She was pursuing government loans and grants, she said, and applications for that type of funding have to come from the owner of the building.

Wednesday morning, Pennington said that an application for federal funding of the construction is still pending. The senior center has received several grants, including one from the Longwood Foundation for $400,000 and another from the Welfare Foundation for $150,000. It is also close to having final approval for a low-interest USDA loan, money that it would use for "bridge financing," Pen-nington said. "Our hope is to raise the total amount so we can pay off the loan as quickly as possible," she added. Pennington said that the senior center is currently working on contractors' bids. She anticipates that construction will start in October or early November and will take 12 to 15 months. The center's lease with the Boys and Girls Club is up in March. The center is looking at several options for temporary quarters, Pennington said, so that's its meals program and exercise programs can continue. "Our seniors will not be out on the street," she added.

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