NWA editorial: A senior moment

Springdale pays respects to its older residents

Uncertainty is a fact of life after one reaches a certain age that some might consider "elderly."

Our once-spry bodies, dang'em, start playing a few tricks, forcing closer attention to those uneven sidewalks and perhaps convincing us to grab hold of a stair rail a few years earlier we might not have even noticed. When we say goodbye to friends, we accept the uncertainty about whether circumstances will grace us with an opportunity to see each other again. Truth be told, such uncertainty exists for people of every age, but the younger folks try to convince themselves otherwise.

What’s the point?

The Springdale City Council showed support for the city’s older resident with a vote to take over management of the Springdale Senior Center.

Folks who, based on the averages, know there's more of their lives behind them than in front know there are no guarantees. Coming to grips with it is just a part of getting older.

But city leaders in Springdale recently took a vote aimed at removing at least one level of uncertainty from the minds of older residents who enjoy the benefits of the Springdale Senior Center. The center, at 203 Park St., provides recreational, educational and social opportunities for people 60 years old or older. The city-owned building houses the center, but the programming and services are provided by the Harrison-based Area Agency on Aging. That's about to change.

The City Council voted unanimously last week to place the senior center under new management, namely the Springdale Parks and Recreation Department.

Mayor Doug Sprouse said the center's director, Lori Proud, approached him about the idea. Adopting the center's operation is primarily an issue of local control, Sprouse said, by keeping decisions affecting Springdale residents in Springdale. The city's operation will be more consistent year to year, whereas the practice of using a contractor requires the contract to come open for bidding regularly.

"I've done this for 14 years, and all I can see is positive," Proud said. "It's going to help us take care of the seniors of Springdale better."

Even though unanimous, the decision wasn't necessarily a shoo-in. The change means the loss of about $200,000 is state and federal funding. But the senior center's management will also be more free to function absent added requirements that come with the state and federal funding. Sprouse said he's convinced donors will also feel more comfortable giving to the senior center when they know it's a standalone operation with city management. They'll know it will stay in Springdale, he said.

We commend Springdale's commitment to serve its older residents with a place that helps keep them engaged and active. For many, the socialization and activity they get through the senior makes a huge difference in their outlooks. That, in turn, can have positive implications for their long-term health.

City leaders' votes pay respect to those of earlier generations. It's well earned. We're pretty certain of that.

Commentary on 04/19/2017

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