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Town manager talks public transport for seniors, other ageing-related topics

September 3, 2012

Culver's town manag­er feels the experience of the town's ageing cit­izenry is "very import­ant," and he hopes to see more involvement from it moving forward. He also plans to tap into the opinions of that de­mographic regarding the possibility of regular transportation services being offered locally.

Schoeff, speaking last Wednesday at Culver's REAL Services nutri­tion site at the beach lodge on Lake Shore Drive, thanked assistant site director Jeanette Geiselman for bring­ing the transportation matter to him. He noted he spoke to Culver's town council at its last meeting concerning increasing the presence of Marshall Coun­ty Council on Ageing vehi­cles offering transportation in Culver. Presently the service is offered once per week; Schoeff said he will utilize surveys to gauge interest in expanding that service to multiple days per week. He also said the Council of Churches will discuss the matter.

Surveys will be handled in such a way as to focus on those who would utilize the service, Schoeff empha­sized.

"We want the input of those who will benefit from it," he added.

Culver's senior citizens, Schoeff said, "have been here and done things, and have probably the most knowledge, so they're very important."

He added he hasn't had to mention the needs of Culver's ageing commu­nity, but has already been approached by some citi­zens not yet of age to ben­efit from senior-related services, advocating the importance of those ser­vices.

"I've had people who ha­ven't gotten there yet (in age) come up to me and say, 'We need these services that REAL Services and the Council on Ageing pro­vide.'"

He encouraged seniors to "get involved and help us plan for the future. We all have knowledge and infor­mation we can pull from."

Schoeff also discussed the HUD-based Garden Court senior living center opened earlier this year in Culver, which he noted has eight out of its 13 apart­ments filled so far.

Updating the audience of the status of Culver's hoped-for comprehensive plan, he emphasized the plan will look at the entire­ty of the Culver area, not just the town limits.

"We have a beautiful Academy and lake, and we have the town and rural sec­tion," he noted. "We're very fortunate in this area. The comprehensive plan (is a) long-range planning docu­ment gathering information from folks on how the town will grow."

Meetings to glean com­munity input will take place in the coming three to six months, he said.

Schoeff also praised the level of Culver's commu­nity involvement, pointing out the attendance of 25 to 30 people at a Cham­ber-sponsored meeting re­cently to discuss Culver's future, was higher than he saw in his former com­munity of Huntington, at 17,000 people.

"When you get 25 (peo­ple) in a town of 1,500, that's impressive; it means you care."

Schoeff also updated the audience on various hap­penings in Culver, includ­ing the impending down­town revitalization project, which will replace side­walks and facilitate new streetscapes in downtown Culver commencing in mid-September.

Also discussed were up­coming plans centered at Culver's town park, such as upcoming implementation of a programming director for the park, who will focus on programs and activities for seniors and youth of an age not reached by the Cul­ver Boys & Girls Club.

"As we all know, it gets kind of quiet in the fall and winter months," Schoeff re­marked. "The comment to me was that we need more things to do in those off seasons."

The position will be year-round, but part-time, he added.

In response to a comment from audience member Jim Dewitt that a crosswalk on Lake Shore Drive adjacent to the beach lodge is need­ed, Schoeff discussed new warning signals installed on some Culver streets as part of the recent Safe Routes to School sidewalk program -- the signals, he said, are wireless and be operated by text message. Simi­lar signals could be put in place near the beach lodge, Schoeff suggested, noting he's investigating the cost of doing so.

Schoeff also detailed a new endeavor created by park superintendent Kelly Young, in which spaces at the park along Lake Shore Drive will be rented out to those -- in or outside of Culver -- wishing to set up yard sales as part of the town-wide yard sales in September. Proceeds will go to a concert in the park series and outdoor movie night at the park, Schoeff said.

Schoeff also mentioned the need for planning to in­clude "dressing up" some of Culver's entryway corri­dors, such as West Jefferson Street and the south side of Culver.

"To me," he said, "they need to be more appealing to people not from here. And I noticed that when we first came to town."

Another long-range con­cern, he added, is afford­able housing.

"You can't find a home in Culver for a fairly reason­able price," said Schoeff. "Most of the people that work at Medallion (Elkay Cabinetry on Mill Street) don't live in Culver. Per­sonally, I see a problem with that. That's not help­ing the community. They might buy a pack of smokes at the gas station, but they do most of their shopping out of town. The compre­hensive plan will help with that."

Schoeff emphasized that higher-priced housing is "a great problem to have.

"It means people want to spend a lot of money to come here. But still, people who grew up in this town need the services of years ago, including what I call affordable housing."

The town manager stressed that his door is open and he encourages residents to share opinions, thoughts, and even com­plaints.

"This is a community that's easy to work with," he said. "Nobody's been nasty to me yet. I've got a few more months (grace period), and I'l use every dime of that!"

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