The Astoria Senior Center and the Loaves and Fishes program have joined to ask the City of Astoria to sponsor an application for a substantial community block grant that would see the center refurbished and upgraded and convert the basement of the building into a new home for the Loaves and Fishes program.

Loaves and Fishes and Meals on Wheels provides hot meals to those in need and often serve seniors and shut-ins in the local area delivering healthy hot meals using volunteers to make deliveries. The basement of the center would become a new kitchen and serving area for the program which would operate 5 days a week. It would be necessary to install an elevator to make the area accessible.

The building that houses the Senior Center was once home to a furniture store in it's lengthy history and for many years now has served as a "make do" gathering place for local seniors but it's in need of more than a little TLC. 

The grant would come through the Business Oregon Infrastructure Finance Authority with a $1.5 million maximum but the actual amount of the request would come through the architech and construction contractor for the project.  The Senior Center retained Rickenbach Construction to provide preliminary plans and cost estimates. The rennovation would include removal of asbestos tiles, a new heating system, insulation and window replacement, a new roof, seismic reinforcement, and upgraded electrical service, lighting systems and plumbing.

If the grant is approved the City would be responsible to oversee the project to make sure it meets all the requirements of the grant. No match is required but additional money will be required for kitchen items that are not permanently installed like tables and chairs or portable appliances.

The City Council will hold a public hearing on the grant proposal at the regular meeting tonight to gather any public input on the project and to determine if this project would be the best application for community block grant funds in Astoria. This would pertain especially to the needs of low to moderate income citizens.

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