Leavenworth County officials continue to look for a new home for the Council on Aging.
County Administrator Mark Loughry provided an update on the search when county commissioners met this week.
The Council on Aging is a county department that provides various services for senior citizens.
Currently, the Council on Aging 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.
County commissioners have said there are problems with this building. And county officials have been looking for another location to house the Council on Aging.
Loughry noted Wednesday that there had been a lot of discussion about this issue before county government facilities were closed because of the coronavirus outbreak.
A large group of people attended a March 5 County Commission meeting to address their concerns about the issue.
And people concerned about the issue had planned to hold a public meeting March 18. But that meeting was canceled due to concerns about the coronavirus.
Loughry said Wednesday that county officials had evaluated another possible site for the Council on Aging. But this site also has challenges and county officials believe it is not viable at this time.
Loughry said there was an additional site that was put forth, but it did not have adequate square footage.
“So we are still in the search for a building that will meet our needs,” he said.
Loughry said county officials have obtained rough estimates for the cost of constructing a new building for the Council on Aging. He said the estimates range between $4 million and $4.5 million. He said these estimates include expenses for things such as furnishings.
“That’s an option,” he said. “It’s not one we’re prepared to present just yet.”
But he said it is something commissioners may have to consider to avoid putting $2 million to $3 million into a building that is 60 to 70 years old.
He said the challenge with constructing a new building is funding. He said it is possible the commissioners would have to seek voter approval for issuing bonds for the project.
Loughry said there could a lease-purchase option. But this likely would have to be paid off over a shorter period of time than bonds.
Commissioner Chad Schimke noted that the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis could impact revenues for the county government.
Commissioner Jeff Culbertson said he wants members of the public to know that the County Commission is not trying to shut down the Council on Aging.
“We’re just trying to save the taxpayers money by not paying rent anymore for the building,” Culbertson said.
Loughry said county officials want to make sure county money is put into something sustainable instead something that will have growing maintenance issues.