If officials don't act quickly to replace its roof, a senior day care center providing critical community assistance is in danger closing its doors this December, City Manager Rob DiSpirito warned commissioners at Thursday night's city meeting.
And commissioners heeded with a $35,000 gift.
The Neighborly Day Care Center discovered in a September inspection that it would need an entirely new roof, gutter system and downspouts — to the tune of an estimated $27,900 — so it could renew an agreement with Mease Dunedin Hospital to continue operating at its New York Avenue location.
The center provides day care services to roughly 200 area elderly residents who are unable to stay home alone, and allows some respite for their caregivers.
Mease Dunedin Hospital and Neighborly Care Network have operated the center out of the modest brown building at the corner of New York and Virginia avenues under a joint agreement since 2002. The agreement assumes that the hospital handles the cost of liability insurance, furnishings, patient lunches, utilities, taxes and rent at the center, while Neighborly Care operates and staffs it. Although the city is not a party to the 2002 agreement, it did donated $15,000 early on toward handicap access upgrades, DiSpirito said.
As for the much-needed roof repairs, Mease Dunedin Hospital told the city its capital budget is tied up in a multi-million-dollar expansion of its operating and emergency room and other patient services, according to the city.
DiSpirito said, while not a city-owned building, the Neighborly Day Care Center “is among Dunedin’s community assets that responds to the special needs of many of its senior citizens. Assisting in the repair and upkeep of this community asset would be a reasonable use of city funds.”
He suggested allocating $35,000, slightly more than the estimated repair price tag, from the city’s Facilities Capital Fund.
Tom Burke, city engineer, said the additional allocated amount, above the $27,900, will serve as a contingency fund if rot or termite damage is detected when the original roof is removed.
The gift would allow the hospital and Neighborly Care Network to renew its agreement allowing senior day care services to continue for at least another five years.