Seniors help raise money for their new bus

TAYLOR – The members of the city’s senior center are getting their money’s worth out of a new bus they helped pay for several months ago.

    The new 40-passenger bus is transporting seniors from the William D. Ford Senior Activity Center to a variety of destinations, including twice-a-month visits to various restaurants; local theaters; casino trips two to three times a month; shopping trips; quilting shows; the Renaissance Festival; and other field trips throughout the city and surrounding areas

    What makes the new bus experience even more unique is how the vehicle was purchased. Director of Senior Services Marsha Dotson said former Mayor Cameron Priebe challenged the seniors a couple of years ago that if they could raise half the cost of the $80,000 bus, the city would match that amount.

    The seniors solicited donations, held quilt raffles, spaghetti dinners and a pancake breakfast and sold McDonald’s coupon books, just to name a few fund-raising endeavors.

Through hard work, Dotson said, the seniors were able to raise more than $26,000, leaving just another $14,000 to go.

    “Through major citywide cost-cutting efforts implemented by Mayor Priebe, the city was able to re-appropriate funds to help us purchase our bus sooner,” Dotson said. “And now the bus is in service.”

    Claire Brown, a member of the city’s Commission on Aging, said she and the other seniors “just love our new bus.” Since the new bus arrived, Brown has been to plays, a shopping mall in Oakland County, an apple orchard in Romeo and a movie theater in Birmingham.

“I think all of the seniors are lucky to have this bus,” said Brown, who has volunteered at the senior center for more than 25 years.

    “I think it’s great.”

    The center also has two 19-passenger buses provided by Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation Municipal Credit Funds, as well as a van, all of which are used for other daily activities.

    “We provide transportation for doctor visits,” Dotson said, “as well as a Dial-A-Ride program where the buses pick up Taylor seniors at their homes and bring them to the center free of charge.”

    Dial-A-Ride also includes trips to local shopping centers such as Meijer and Kmart, and even a day at a local beauty college. Pharmacies and banks also are frequented.

    Dotson is proud of the transportation program – one of many at the busy Ford Senior Center, 6750 Troy, west of Telegraph Road and just north of Ecorse Road.

    The center offers a variety of activities and senior support programs, such as the nutrition program, which serves meals daily at the center and also provides and delivers more than 75 meals to homebound seniors. Other ongoing activities at the center include bingo, card playing, pool and ping pong. An exercise room is available to those who have first taken a safety class.

    There is a senior bowling league at Skore Lanes, as well as three golf leagues with more than 230 participants at the two city golf courses.

    Outside the center is a new horseshoe pit installed by the city’s Golf, Parks and Recreation Department, plus a new brick-paver patio, installed recently by Eagle Scout Nick Kochis.

    Many classes also are available throughout the year. such as oil painting, tai chi, weight training, yoga, line dancing, exercise, quilting, stained glass and computer. Monthly themed dances are hald for such occasions as Valentine’s Day, Christmas and New Year’s.

    “Our most recent dance was our 26-year anniversary dance with the theme ‘Taste of Taylor,’ where we invited restaurants in Taylor and had seven from the community come in and share a ‘Taste of Taylor’ with over 120 seniors,” Dotson said. “It was a great success.”

    Dotson, her staff and volunteers showed off the senior center and new bus during an open house Nov. 6.