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City To Vote On Over-The-Rhine Senior Center Funding Next Week

Seniors enjoying lunch Wednesday at the Over-the-Rhine Senior Center on Race Street.
Seniors enjoying lunch Wednesday at the Over-the-Rhine Senior Center on Race Street.

Nearly two dozen senior citizens who use the Over-the-Rhine Senior Center are asking Cincinnati City Council to support a $50,000 one-time grant to the facility. It would provide operating support to keep it going.

"We are here asking that you all prepare to give us money to support us all the way," said Cleo Metts, who uses the center. "They've been there over 30 years and they do good things for the community."

Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld made the proposal last week and said Monday the full council will likely vote on an ordinance to provide the funding Dec. 12.

Officials hope they'll be able to use that money to leverage additional funding. The center needs about $100,000 a year to operate.

A separate plan calls for the city to sell the building to the group for a dollar, but work is continuing on that ordinance.

Officials with Cincinnati Area Senior Services had said the facility could close soon because there wasn't enough money to keep it going.  

Council Member Tamaya Dennard supports the city funding, but said there's a larger issue.

"I'm happy that there was a plan to save the senior center this time," Dennard said. "But what about the next time you're not a priority, and the time after that you're not a priority, and the time after that you're not a priority? That's what we need to question, how we think about decisions up here for everybody."

The Over-the-Rhine Senior Center provides hot meals and programming for more than 100 adults.  

The center received city money in the past but it lost those dollars when City Council changed the human services funding focus areas.

The center also lost a significant amount of money it had been receiving from the United Way.

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