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Grant to help Herkimer County HealthNet gather input on need for community center

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

HERKIMER, N.Y. — Herkimer County does not currently have a senior center or a community center, but a local organization believes the county could use such a facility.

Herkimer County HealthNet, Inc. will use a grant of nearly $20,000 to explore the possibility of an “intergenerational” community center for families in what it calls the “Mohawk Valley corridor,” according to an Aug. 24 news release.

The organization says the corridor area includes Herkimer, Ilion, Little Falls, Frankfort, Mohawk, and Dolgeville “where the majority of the population of Herkimer County resides.” 

The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Inc. awarded the funding, HealthNet said.

Herkimer County HealthNet will use the grant of more than $19,700 for a community-needs assessment that will help to determine the community’s interest in developing such a community center.

The assessment work will begin in mid-September, the organization said. 

The purpose of this study is to “further explore interest, more clearly define the target population and services that would be of interest to the population, and design and develop a proposed service model.” 

Herkimer County HealthNet is a nonprofit organization that says it works to “improve the health and well-being of individuals who live, work, play, and learn in Herkimer County and the Mohawk Valley region.”

Why the need

An April 2016 report entitled “Community Assessment of Senior Needs for Herkimer and Oneida Counties” indicated three concerns identified as “unmet needs” for the area, HealthNet said.

They include a senior/community-recreation center that individuals can go to every day, affordable day and evening respite for caregivers, and a program of inclusive care for the elderly.

HealthNet contends that an intergenerational community center could serve these three needs, along with others “to be identified by this community assessment.”

The nonprofit will use the results of this needs assessment to design and plan the development of an intergenerational center.

It contends that the development of such a community center can “enhance” the support of seniors, establish a center with “wrap-around” services in a central location for seniors, and “enhance collaboration of multiple service providers.” 

 “The role of Herkimer County HealthNet is to continually assess and address issues concerning the health and well-being of the residents of Herkimer County. This community needs assessment will help us to focus our efforts on an identified community need that will benefit people of all generations.” Dr. Thomas Curnow, executive director of Herkimer County HealthNet, said in the release.

Thomas Dennison, a professor at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, will conduct the assessment. 

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com