Senior center, fire department seek funds for upgrades

Jenny Lancour | Daily Press Brenda Norden, head cook at the senior center in Rock, demonstrates the difficulties in opening the drawers in the kitchen at the Maple Ridge Township Hall earlier this week. The township is raising funds to pay for renovations in the out-dated kitchen including replacing the cabinets, sinks and ceiling

ROCK — The Tri-Township Fire Department and the Rock Senior Center — both serving residents in Ewing, Maple Ridge and Turin townships — are seeking grant money and other funds to better meet the needs of the three communities.

The fire department needs to buy a new pumper truck to replace a very old vehicle while the senior center/community center needs to update its very outdated kitchen, explained Maple Ridge Township Supervisor Judy Trudell.

“The fire department is looking at purchasing a new pumper truck for $210,000 to $240,000. We have $186,000 so far in grants and savings for the truck, but we need more,” she said, noting money may have to be borrowed.

The last time the fire department bought a new pumper was in the 1970s. Since then, a used pumper was purchased, but it is now 34 years old and costs more to repair than it’s worth, said Trudell.

Funding for a new pumper to date includes $113,000 from the Tri-Township Fire Board, $50,000 from the local Windfall Foundation, $10,000 from the Enbridge Foundation, $5,031 from the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians 2 Percent Grant, $5,000 from TransCanada Corporation, $3,000 from the Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation, and $300 from the Firefighters Charitable Organization.

The kitchen used by the senior center — located in the Maple Ridge Township Hall — requires major renovations including new cabinets, countertops, sinks, a ceiling and plumbing. An electrical upgrade is also needed, explained Trudell, noting the renovations are being done to update the space as well as improve safety in the kitchen.

The homemade kitchen cabinets are several decades old with heavy, sticky drawers that fall out and cupboard doors that do not close completely. Electric wiring is encased, but not installed inside the walls. Old countertop is deteriorating.

“The senior center has $20,000 in grant funds and we’re looking for more money,” Trudell said, estimating the renovations will cost $30,000 to $35,000.

Funds received for the kitchen to date include $5,000 from Maple Ridge Township, $5,000 from the local Windfall Foundation, $4,663 from the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians 2 Percent Grant, $3,000 from the Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation, and $2,500 from the Hannahville Indian Community 2 Percent Grant.

Both the fire department and senior center continue to wait on results of pending grant applications but also welcome any contributions from the community to improve services, said Trudell.

“We’re busy making improvements every year. If anyone wants to donate, it would be great,” she said.

Future plans for upgrades at the township hall include an additional heating source, air conditioning and insulation.

— — —

Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,