BOARDMAN - After six years of false starts and delays, the Boardman Senior Center is on track to begin construction of its new home, possibly as soon as October.

The announcement came after both Boardman and Morrow County officials made verbal commitments at a Boardman City Council meeting Tuesday to provide the remaining money needed.

While a state grant will provide the bulk of the funding, the seniors were still $60,000 short.

Morrow County Commissioner Terry Tallman said the county would cover half of that shortfall to balance the budget for the $600,000 facility. The funds will come out of the tipage fees the county receives from the Finley Buttes Landfill south of Boardman.

"The philosophy is we want to help projects get completed" with the tipage fees, Tallman said.

The seniors requested the full $60,000 from the county but the city offered to pick up half of that, Tallman said.

Boardman Mayor Tom Meyers has on several occasions voiced his commitment to seeing the project go through.

"I feel we need to step forward," Meyers said. "A lot of this town was built on their sweat."

In addition to the matching funds, the city also has provided the land where the 6,000-square-foot building will be located. That land is valued at $200,000.

The building will be on the north side of the new City Hall. City manager Rex Mather said he hopes this will add to the economic infrastructure of the city.

"I think any construction is going to enhance it," Mather said.

The news came as a welcome relief to LaVern Partlow, president of the Boardman Senior Citizens group.

"We're excited and pleased," Partlow said. "When you are working on something like this it may not seem like that long to other people but to us it has been."

The seniors have been using a pre-fabricated building donated by the Port of Morrow for meetings and meals. The building does not have running water in its kitchen, so seniors must bring meals already prepared.

Partlow said one of the goals is to provide five meals a week at the new center, thanks to a full working kitchen.

Many Boardman seniors who have been part of the effort to get a new senior center won't be around to enjoy it, Partlow said.

"We've lost so many people. ... I'm the only person from the original board still living," Partlow said. "We're hoping we don't lose any more before this gets going."

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