$25K in upgrades planned for Nederland senior center

Published 12:16 am Saturday, August 27, 2022

NEDERLAND — Looking for a good card game or a dominoes matchup?

What about a game of pool, a comfortable place to read a book or visit with friends?

Maybe it’s Internet access and a relaxing place to eat lunch that would make your day complete?

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The B.A. “Booty” Ritter Senior Center in Nederland works to provide those creature comforts on a daily basis to seniors in the region.

Director Diane LaPoint said the senior center is open for anyone in the region who is 60 years or older. They simply have to go through a once-a-year registration process.

For more information, LaPoint asks those interested to call the center at 409-727-5230 or her cell phone at 409-540-2805.

LaPoint said she is blessed to be able to help those in her community.

That effort received a major boost this week when the Nederland City Council approved the center for a $25,000 grant as part of the city’s Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery program that established the City of Nederland Non-Profit Partnership Grant Program.

There have now been nine nonprofit organizations helped by the Nederland program.

Upgrades

The money will touch just about all services offered at B.A. “Booty” Ritter Senior Center.

New kitchen equipment to help with food service includes a warmer and ice machine.

“It’s unfortunate, but for some of the visitors, this is the only hot meal they get a day,” City Manager Chris Duque said. “That is a very important thing they do there.”

The center will also purchase several iPads so seniors can use them.

For some visitors, the center is the only way they can get on the Internet, check emails and stay up-to-date on certain news if they don’t have that technology at home.

The grant also covers the center’s Internet service cost for two years.

“They want to replace their storage building, where they store a lot of the materials for the activities they do there,” Duque said. “They needed to replace the old one with something larger.”

An additional ramp will be added in the rear of the building, which is located at 914 Boston Avenue in Nederland.

“We’re going to help them with the procurement of the ramp,” Duque said. “We’re looking at a prefab product and we’re also going to help them with the procurement of the shed and the procurement of the computer equipment. Our IT director went down there and sat with them to understand exactly what they are wanting to do to make sure they are buying the right type of equipment, larger screens, a printer that can handle the volume of material they might want to print for the patrons.”

Non-Profit Partnership Grant Program

The City of Nederland is working through more than 20 grant applications that were submitted before the registration deadline.

Also approved this week was an $8,200 grant for The Port Neches Assembly #159 (Rainbow Girls), which lost that revenue with the cancellation of the 2021 Nederland Heritage Festival.

Duque said he and City Clerk Gay Ferguson are going through each application, describing the effort as a “process” where you always find bumps in the roadway.

“These are federal grants, and we are trying to make sure when we are audited that we have all our documents, everything that clearly shows this is how we substantiated this loss of revenue. This is how we justified this program,” he said.

“It takes time. A lot of these nonprofits are not professionally staffed. It’s volunteers who either have other jobs or other responsibilities. They can’t just always drop everything and handle this. Things take time.”

Although not super fast, progress is being made, and city leaders hope to approve at least three more nonprofits for funds when the council meets in September.