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Community Service Center eyeing baby boomer retirees

POSTED: March 16, 2014 11:26 p.m.

The Gainesville-Hall County Community Service Center’s future is going to depend in part on attracting a new kind of retiree to its senior programs.

The social service arm of local government provides programs for senior citizens, operates public transportation and undertakes community building projects. 

The CSC is funded by Gainesville, Hall County, revenues from services, and state and federal grants. The agency has a budget close to $2.97 million this fiscal year, with about $596,000 coming from the city of Gainesville, and about $471,000 coming from Hall County. 

Though Gainesville’s revenues are faring better than last year, according to City Manager Kip Padgett, no major increases in funding for departments and agencies are expected this year. Finance staff is currently working through the numbers, and specific funding requests will begin to take shape in the coming weeks. 

In the meantime, CSC Director Phillippa Lewis Moss took time last week to discuss the successes and challenges the social service agency has encountered thus far in the current fiscal year, as well as address priorities and goals for the coming fiscal year. 

The biggest change in her agency this year came with the launch of the new Gainesville Connection transit line, a rebranding of the city’s public bus service that comes with the retirement of the Red Rabbit theme. 

The city purchased seven new buses to correspond with the launch of the new brand, and plans to review rate structures, fares and route schedules for the transit line are in the works. 

Moss said the CSC’s partnership with the Georgia Mountain Food Bank has been critical in meeting the needs of low-income residents and senior citizens, particularly during recent winter storms. 

The agency would have been in “deep trouble” without the food bank’s assistance, Moss said. 

Moss said goals for next year include developing a plan to attract and retain new retirees to Senior Life Center programs; review fare structures for transit, meals on wheels and community outreach programs; and expand volunteer outreach to local nonprofit organizations. 

Moss said it would be critical for the CSC to focus on recruiting baby boomers to the Senior Life Center programs, a retiree constituency growing ever larger by the day. But to assist in this process, the center would likely need renovations, or perhaps even a new home, in the coming years, presenting another budget priority that could be addressed through city and county support, as well as state and federal funding.

“Our facility is getting dated,” Moss said.


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