Leavenworth County commissioners heard Wednesday from local residents who had concerns about what they feared would be changes to the Council on Aging.

Commissioners told audience members they support the Council on Aging, but county officials are looking for a new location for the county-run agency.

“This board supports Council on Aging very well,” Commission Chairman Doug Smith said.

Council on Aging provides various services for senior citizens including transportation, Meals on Wheels and various education and recreational activities.

Audience members expressed concern about changes to the Council on Aging during a public comment portion of Wednesday’s County Commission meeting.

“We’re concerned because it does involve so many people in the community,” audience member Janice Langham said.

Commission Mike Stieben said he believes the only issue is the facility that serves as the headquarters for Council on Aging.

“And I believe the commission is committed to having a wonderful facility for you,” he said.

The Council on Aging currently is located at 1830 S. Broadway in Leavenworth. The building once served as the Leavenworth County Infirmary and was owned by the county government. The county now leases the property for the Council on Aging.

“There are some problems with the existing facility,” Stieben said.

County Administrator Mark Loughry said the county has increased funding for the Council on Aging by 34% during the last four years.

Loughry said he believes there has been misinformation regarding what commissioners are doing.

“The current facility has some real issues,” he said.

He said county officials cannot fix the problems because the county does not own the building.

But he said the issue needs to be addressed before a problem results in the Council on Aging becoming homeless.

He said any alternate location will address the space needs that are provided at the current facility.

“And it may come down to building a new facility,” Smith said.

Smith said commissioners are trying to be proactive. He said any decisions made by the commissioners will occur during a public meeting.

Following Wednesday’s meeting, Loughry declined to comment on the specific problems of the current Council on Aging building, noting that the property is not owned by the county.

He said county officials have been looking at other possible locations for the Council on Aging for about five months. He said county officials are unaware of any “ready to move in” building that is available for the Council on Aging. Any new location likely will require construction or remodeling.

He said county officials looked at a former medical arts building in Leavenworth on Tuesday.

Some audience members expressed concern about the adequacy of this property.

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