IVEDC opens Macoupin County Senior and Community Services Center in Benld

IVEDC opens Macoupin County Senior and Community Services

Illinois Valley Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Mike Kelly speaks prior to the ribbon cutting at the recently-opened Macoupin County Senior and Community Services Center in Benld Mar. 9. Enquirer Democrat photo by Jackson Wilson.

By JACKSON WILSON

Enquirer Democrat Reporter

A strong foundation of support and co-operation from the Community Hospital of Staunton paid off as the Illinois Valley Economic Development Corporation recently opened doors to the new IVEDC South Macoupin Senior and Community Services Center. The new business was established within a vacant Benld building previously owned by the Community Hospital of Staunton. With the hosptial board’s confirmation to transfer property ownership over to the IVEDC, the dream of the senior citizen center came true. The grand opening was held March 9.

“We are gathered here today in recognition of the ongoing renovation of this building,” IVEDC Executive Director Mike Kelly said prior to Monday’s ribbon cutting. “We’re nowhere done with what we mean to accomplish here. There’s plenty of work still to be done, interior and exterior.”

The goal of the IVEDC’s Senior Citizens Program is to provide service to area individuals that are 60 years of age and older. Staffs like the one at Benld Senior Center prepare and serve meals to elderly folk that are unable to attend food sites. These meals are designed to give senior citizens at least one-third of their recommended nutritional needs. Activity programs are additionally designed to help keep seniors active and engaged.

Residents had to be previously re-located to the Gillespie Civic Center due to roofing issues that kept occurring on the original Benld senior facility that had been used for years.

“The city of Gillespie was very generous in letting us use the Civic Center, but we had to find something else that we could use on a daily basis,” said Kelly. “A big thanks goes out to the Community Hospital of Staunton for being kind enough to give us this building,” said Kelly. “Without that, we would not be where we are today. We are very fortunate to have that support.”

The IVEDC is also making efforts to bring its ‘Head Start’ program to the city of Benld.

‘Head Start is a comprehensive child development program for individuals (age 0-5) at a economic disadvantage plus ones that have special needs. Services are provided through either a center-based or home-based model, depending on the area. Structured classroom activities are provided five days per week from late August through May. The ultimate goal of ‘Head Start’ is to ensure that all of its participants have access to the experiences and opportunities necessary for their development and later success in public schools and daily life.

“We’re making big investments here in South Macoupin County to make this happen because it is a very important area in which the IVEDC serves,” said Kelly. “In fact, this is our most populous area when you bring all of the students in here.”