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Lemoore Uses Redevelopment to Bring Generations Together

 The City of Lemoore won the Award for Excellence in the Effective Advocacy, Intergovernmental Relations and Regional Cooperation category of the 2008 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more information about the program, visit www.cacities.org/helenputnam.
 
In December 2004, the City of Lemoore faced a shortage of child care services and an unmet need for day care services for senior citizens and adults with disabilities. The local nonprofit primary provider of children’s day care, Kings Community Action Organization, had 250 children on its waiting list. The nearest adult day care facility, run by Kings County Commission on Aging, was located in Hanford — 12 miles away — and the distance posed a hardship for families who needed services. In addition, the facility was nearing capacity.
 
The Lemoore City Council held several study sessions with both groups, who collaboratively decided having a joint facility for children and senior groups would be extremely advantageous. Young people and the elderly thrive when the generations are connected and have opportunities to interact. Such an arrangement would also make efficient use of space and resources.
Funding Shortfall Spurs New Approach
In April 2005, the city applied to the state Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program for $1.5 million in grant funding to build the joint facility in an existing city-owned complex, but received only $500,000. Unwilling to abandon the project, staff from the city sat down with people from the Kings Community Action Organization and Kings County Commission on Aging to rethink the approach and seek the most cost-effective solution.
The participants agreed that acquiring and renovating a vacant building was the best option. The city council decided to approach the project as a redevelopment opportunity. City staff submitted a revised scope of work to the local redevelopment agency and the council, who then authorized submitting the revised scope to the state. With state approval, the project moved forward.
To hold down costs, the city facilities superintendent and building department superintendent worked together to draft construction plans and develop estimates. City staff lined up funding sources, including:
• $500,000 from the 2005 CDBG grant;
• $279,415 CDBG program income from the sale of property;
• $90,546 from the Lemoore Redevelopment Agency; and
• $33,000 of in-kind city labor.
The total acquisition and construction cost was $902,991. The local Rotary Club and Lemoore residents also donated funds and equipment.
In the summer of 2006, the city completed the required environmental review and acquired 1075 Blake Street, a former day care facility. Constructed in the early 1970s, the 5,708-square-foot building had been vacant for months and had numerous problems, including leaky gas pipes, a broken sewer line, faulty electrical wiring and a roof that needed replacing.
In fall 2006, the city’s building maintenance crews demolished portions of the building, poured the foundation for a 1,000-square-foot addition, and framed and sheathed the addition. Subcontractors performed the balance of the work, including electrical, plumbing, roofing, heating and air conditioning and more. In June 2007, the city completed building renovations, and the nonprofit service organizations started providing services there in August 2007.
Programs Flourish
The multifaceted program is called the Generations Project. The child day care portion is licensed to provide preschool to a total of 52 children and services to an additional 20 children. As part of the preschool services the children receive dental and medical examinations, immunizations, and vision and hearing screenings. All children receiving services are living at or below the poverty guideline; the poverty guideline for a family of four is $20,650 a year.
As of February 2009, Kings Community Action Organization had provided 49 children and their families with 4,760 total days of preschool Head Start services. This includes 3.5 hours daily of early childhood education, home visitation with teachers and parents to plan for the child’s individual needs, parent education, services to children with special needs, nutrition education and much more. The program has also provided the enrolled children with 9,520 meals and snacks during the same period.
The adult day care provides services to 10 adults: three who are age 90 or older; four who are between the ages of 75 and 86; and three who are younger than 60. About 60 percent of the families served are in the very low- to low-income group. Between January 2008 and February 2009, the program served 2,173 meals to seniors in the program.
“We are very proud of the Generations Project,” says Lemoore Mayor John Murray. “Our seniors have their own facility in which to socialize and receive nutritious meals, and they have an opportunity to interact with young children, which brings much joy to them. At the same time the children appreciate seeing and communicating with the elderly, as if they were additional grandparents.”
Lemoore resident Caroline Daley cares for her husband, Robert, who has Alzheimer’s disease. Enrolling him in the Generations adult day care program helped to give her some respite from her duties as caregiver. She says, “Families know their loved ones are cared for in a nurturing environment — it gives you peace of mind.”
Contact: Joseph Mendiola, assistant planner, City of Lemoore; phone: (559) 924-6740; e-mail: jmendiola@lemoore.com