Library and senior center receive funds

By Jeff Smith

Dale Householder hands Kris Pennel, Hill City Senior Center director, a check for $1,000 on Jan. 17 as senior center board members Kay Raderschadt and Keith Hayes watch. The senior center will be establishing a free transportation service with the funds

The Pennington County Council on Aging recently donated $650 to the Hill City Public Library and $1,000 to the Hill City Senior Center. The library plans to use the money to purchase large print books while the senior center will develop a pilot program for free transportation for those that are disabled and the elderly.

Tammy Alexander, library director for the Hill City Public Library, said that there is not many large print books in circulation. The donation will allow the large print section to be updated with newer books and new offerings.

This donation is a benefit to Hill City but also to all of Pennington County. The large print books will be circulated to other libraries in Pennington County.

Alexander will make a list and will be placing an order soon. Anyone who has suggestions for large print is welcome to come in with suggestions. She said large print books are more expensive with most running for about $20.

“They will be hardback so they can last longer,” Alexander said.

The transportation service with the Hill City Senior Center is going to be available in the near future. A date hasn’t been set as the senior center board of directors have been working on finalizing the details. The plan is to develop a voucher system with the taxi service in Hill City. Dale Householder, treasurer with the Pennington County Council on Aging, said people will be able to get rides to the food pantry, the post office, a legal appointment and doctor appointments. A doctor appointment in Rapid City could be a possibility.

Householder said the participants can come into the senior center to have everything mapped out and then use the vouchers for payment. He and the senior center board of director expect to see five to 10 people use the service every week.

Kris Pennel, director of the Hill City Senior Center, said that the service is something that Hill City has needed for a long time.

“I hope people take advantage of it,” Pennel said.

The Pennington County Aging Council has a goal to give to non-profit agencies in Pennington County that serve senior citizens and have unmet needs.

With the resolution of intent for the Business Improvement District approved by the city council there are high hopes that the senior center will be seeing improvements on the building. Among those are a new meeting room, an expanded storage area and new public restrooms that tourists will be able to access. There is also a plan to make a new access point to the building that will help with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues.

The improvements will add 1,320 square-feet to the back of the building.

“It will also double the size of the kitchen which is so exciting,” Householder said.

The kitchen will also become a state-licensed kitchen which will enable volunteers to make and sell  jams and jellies.

Householder said it will expand the ability to do more with the kitchen and during the biker breakfast 10-12 people don’t have to work in a smaller kitchen.

The goal in fixing the ADA compliance is so that the voting precinct for Hill City can be moved back to the senior center. Overall, the extra space will allow the senior center to have more activities for seniors and expand services for all of Hill City. The meeting space can also become more of a place for family gatherings.

There will be three to four additional parking spaces on the north side. The senior center will be van accessible and no steps will be needed anywhere.

The idea for the bathrooms is to have 3-4 stalls in each one and a baby changing station in both. A storage area will have restocking and cleaning supplies.

The nice thing is that everything will be funded by tourists.

“They will benefit too by having nice, clean modern restrooms,” Householder said.

The hope is that tourists will stay longer in Hill City and want to shop more.

Householder has been attending most of the Business Improvement District board meetings as the chairman of the planning and zoning commission. He also has a vested interest because of his involvement in the senior center but also wants to make sure it would fit the parameters of what would be needed in regards to planning and zoning. A rough conceptual plan has been created and shown to BID Board members.

“It’s going in the right direction. I don’t foresee it won’t happen,” Householder said.