IN NEED OF REPAIRS: The Bullhead Senior Nutrition Center, a building that is approximately 40 years old, has received a Community Development Block Grant of slightly more than $416,000 to improve the facility.

BULLHEAD CITY — A Community Development Block Grant of more than $416,000 will be used to improve the condition of the Senior Nutrition Center.

The county began a 50-year lease agreement in 1979 with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, for the 1.35-acre property at 2275 Trane Road. The city assumed title to the Senior Nutrition Center from Mohave County in 2013, about 18 months after the city took over the senior meals program from the county in 2011. Budget cuts at the county level reduced scheduled funding for the center, prompting the city — with the help of donors and in-kind contributors — to take it over.

Two recent public hearings seeking ideas from residents on how to use this source of CDBG money resulted in the center being chosen as the improvement project being funded. 

Criteria for this funding includes not only public facilities and improvements — such as what’s planned for the center — but also projects for community and supportive housing and facilities; public services for low-income people; economic development; and, neighborhood revitalization and redevelopment.

Now the city is trying to determine what can be done to improve the building with this amount of money.

Jeff Tipton, the city’s human services director, said the list of needed improvements to the building includes fixing or replacing lighting, air and exhaust systems, tile and perhaps some new seating.

And the roof leaks, council member Kathy Bruck pointed out in May that at the center, “It rains inside.”

The roof is at the top of the list, Tipton said.

Council members already approved another matter related to the center: a five-year contract between the city and Western Arizona Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging for support of the senior meals program, that became effective July 1.

The agreement helps pay for up to 52,675 senior meals annually.

This second five-year agreement between the city and WACOG ends June 30, 2024. 

The contract provides 48% of funding during the current fiscal year, $186,432. This source is a combination of state and federal money, Tipton said.

Other revenues and support compose the remainder of this budget and total more than $209,042. This includes money from Arizona Long Term Care System, client donations, and in-kind matches for volunteer services and donated commodities. 

People interested in helping the program can use their Meals on Wheels tax credit to help pay for the local feeding service that provides meals at the center, as well as meal deliveries to homebound seniors. The latter group of seniors receive their food and friendly human contact — just like the seniors at the center who eat there. But the homebound seniors also receive wellness checks from volunteer food delivery people.

“These might be the only people these seniors see until they bring their next meals,” Tipton said.  

Demand for the program has increased since then city took over providing senior meals and is expected to continue increasing because the city’s residents’ median age is 51.4 — significantly older than the national median age of 37.8. 

The city’s general fund contribution to this budget of $80,279 this year includes contributions received from the Bullhead City Meals on Wheels Site Council and year-round fundraising. 

WACOG also will reimburse the city for 2,249 bus rides for seniors through Demand Response and Bullhead Area Transit.

Receiving Meals on Wheels deliveries comes with a required pre-screening to determine whether the senior is eligible. Call 800-782-1886 for details. 

People who want to volunteer to help the Meals on Wheels program fulfill its mission are asked to call 928-758-1538. They will have to consent to a screening as well because they deal with vulnerable residents.

Those seeking information about the Senior Nutrition Center, can call the same phone number. Lunch is served Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m.

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