Pipestone Senior Center seeks funding for new building

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This is a rendering of a new building that would house the Pipestone Senior Center, Pipestone County Area Food Shelf, Meals on Wheels and Seniors Restaurants. A fundraising launch event for the building is scheduled for Thursday, May 12 at 5:30 p.m. at Hiawatha Lodge in Pipestone. File Picture

Senior Pipestone Center President Joann Weets, along with other senior center representatives, applied for funding from the Avera Foundation and Pipestone County Medical Center (PCMC) at the April 26 PCMC Board meeting. .

Weets presented some information on the plans for the building, which is estimated to cost around $600,000. The building would be located at the corner of Second Street NW and Second Avenue NW in Pipestone, where the Pepsi building was located, on land owned by the senior center. It would house the senior center, food shelf, meals on wheels and restaurants for seniors.

Weets said she applied for funds from the Avera Foundation and was told the request would have to go through PCMC CEO Brad Burris.

“I’m asking the foundation to contribute, I think, to something that’s really needed,” Weets said. “I think our older population has been overlooked in Pipestone and I really think it’s a building that could be fundamental for them, but also for the community.”

Curt Hohman, senior vice president of managed hospitals for Avera, said the direction Weets received from the foundation was unclear and apologized for the lack of clarity. He said the Avera Foundation typically funds projects in communities where Avera has the local health facility. This is not the case with PCMC. Hohman said the senior center could apply for funds from PCMC, but would not receive funds from the Avera Foundation.

Burris said the PCMC board could include such funding in its budget, but including donations in the budget is not something that has been done in the past.

“Historically, we haven’t given large donations to the community,” Burris said. “If it’s something the council wants to entertain, we’ll make it part of the operating budget.”

Council chairman Les Nath said the council would review the request and revert to the senior center council.

Weets said construction of the new building is expected to begin this year if sufficient funds or pledges are secured. She said there is a fundraising kickoff for the project on Thursday, May 12. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. at Hiawatha Lodge and will include speakers and presentations on the senior center project, food shelf, Lutheran Social Services, which provides meals on wheels, and others. There will also be a question and answer period.

In other matters, the PCMC board went into a closed session to conduct a performance review of Burris. Nath later said Burris received a satisfactory review and the board approved a 3% raise. This brings his salary to $244,683.50.

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