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U.S. 30 business’ second floor eyed for senior center

Christian Home Health Services Merrillville. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

Christian Home Health Services in Merrillville. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 28, 2013 6:51AM



MERRILLVILLE — Town officials are working with a home health services agency to provide Merrillville’s first community center for seniors.

Community Home Health Services, 4200 W. Lincoln Highway, is offering most of its second floor for the senior center, said Liza Aspiras, a registered nurse who works for the agency and is instrumental in getting the center off the ground.

She hopes to have the center open by summer or fall, following some remodeling.

Ted Raybick, also with the home health services agency, said he believes the center will be called the Town of Merrillville Senior Community Center. He said no minimum age requirement has been set as yet.

Aspiras said the idea to turn the vacant second floor of the building was raised during a meeting with Town Council President Carol Miano, D-3rd, and Clerk-Treasurer Gene Guernsey.

“They suggested to finish the upstairs of our building, but to leave it wide open like it is now. What got me into it was I do business here and started thinking that there is nothing in Merrillville exclusively for seniors. I think this is a great idea,” Aspiras said.

She said a small portion of the 16,000-square-foot space will be divided off for Christian Radio and there will be a kitchen where the center can operate a coffee shop, but the remainder will remain open.

“This is long overdue. This center will give seniors a safe place to go to,” said Miano, who also is director of the town’s Senior Services.

Miano said there is an elevator going to the second floor, making it easily accessible to seniors.

Aspiras said there probably will be exercise, game and movie areas and a place where seniors can rest if they become ill or can’t walk right away. Miano said seniors will be able to do needlework, crochet and other handiwork as well.

Aspiras said seniors will also be able to take advantage of the hair salon, chapel and kitchen on the main floor.

Aspiras said the town would run the center, setting the hours and determining any fees.

Miano said there will be no charge for the services in the beginning, but there could be a nominal fee later, if the center continues to grow and adds more activities.

“I’m not looking to make money off the center and neither is Christian Home Health. They have such a large heart,” Miano said.

Aspiras said Christian Home Health Services, which is paying the reconstruction costs, is seeking a third bid at this time. She said all that is needed is heat, electric and insulation.

Miano said there has also been some discussion about moving the town’s farmers market to the health service’s parking lot, where, being on U.S. 30, it would have more exposure than its current location at the Town Hall, on Broadway.

“We can have garden beds here. That is an activity that I think will make them (seniors) more active. Plus, they can sell produce at a farmers market here,” Aspiras said.

Aspiras said she would also like to have a flea market once a year, as well as an arts and crafts fair and winter festival.

“We can charge a very minimal fee and seniors can display their crafts,” she said.



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