I have a very strong desire to continue the work of Councilman Britton in providing better services for our Senior population. I applaud him for his initiative. If I am elected, we can both champion this effort together. Beginning in January 2018 until June 2018, Mr. Britton along with Assistant City Manager Patrick Kelly hosted a forum every two weeks to gather feedback from the Seniors in attendance. I was fortunate to attend all but 1 meeting, so I have a very good idea of what our Senior population desires. Mr. Britton asked me to speak before Council at the July 6, 2018 meeting as to the importance of focusing on the needs of our Seniors.
The statistic presented as to our Senior population in the City of Oviedo was approximately 25%. With a City population nearing 40,000 that would equate to approximately 10,000 people. While the Residents attending the forum wanted to see certain programs implemented, the overall message was that they wanted a place to meet and call their own. The City recreation department has initiated some “lunch and learns” for our Seniors, installed more pickle ball courts and has a Friday meeting place at the Northland office across from City Hall. However, while these items are a start, we as a City still have a long way to go.
What I took away from the 6 months of meetings was that our Seniors are very proud members of our City. Our Seniors have raised their children, paid their taxes, paid their mortgages, and many of them fought for our country. They want a place where they can go to discuss the problems they face as a Senior with other Seniors and find ways to independently handle the challenges of retirement. Unfortunately, the City has not provided such a place. Council has currently proposed the remodeling of the old post office behind the ACE Hardware Store in downtown Oviedo. My concern is that this is a building built in the 1970’s to Federal guidelines not City codes. To upgrade the building would require providing ADA improvements, a new A/C, updating the facility to current City building codes and having to remedy asbestos floor tiles. (Post Office Approved Minutes exhibit).
The minutes show Councilman Henken specifically asking if the floor tiles were removed would the building be certified asbestos free. The representative stated it would be clean. If the building cannot be classified as 100% asbestos free is this a building we want for our Seniors? (Post Office Approved Minutes exhibit confirming asbestos floor tiles). I am also concerned that the available parking at this site would not likely accommodate Senior events and as a result the Citizens Bank of Florida parking lot would likely be used for overflow, which could possibly impact the customers of the bank.
I would think it would be better to level the entire building removing all traces of asbestos and use it for another modern municipal building. However, my concern with leveling the building is the Donation Agreement (Old Post Office Donation Agreement exhibit) that states the property must be used for a municipal building or something similar, or the City will have to pay the donor a fee until 2042.
Our Seniors deserve a modern facility. Council has spent over $8,000,000 for our golf course so we need to find a way to properly fund a new, healthy facility for our Seniors within the next 2 years.
Respectful of Oviedo’s Past…Focused on Oviedo’s Future