LIVE: Milwaukee County officials discuss latest COVID-19 info and developments
Important resources to help you navigate the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Wisconsin
Hub for reliable, timely news about COVID-19 pandemic

West Allis ponders closing city’s only senior center, partnering with other facilities

Data pix.

WEST ALLIS -- Hundreds of elderly residents in West Allis may soon be out of critical resources. The Common Council is expected to vote on Wednesday, Feb. 19 on a resolution that would close the city's only senior center.

For nearly four decades, the West Allis Senior Center has been providing meals, fitness classes, and arts and crafts for the community's elderly residents.

Volunteers also connect some 400 members with food programs, transportation, and housing.

"People feel like it's a community here. I really do believe that it contributes to the health of all the elderly who come here if, for no other reason, they have the opportunity to talk to friends every day," said Mary DeVitt.

West Allis Senior Center

But that resource may soon go away if the West Allis Common Council approves a resolution to consolidate and relocate the center's activities.

"I go to the arthritis class and I eat," said Arlene Kalbes. "I can't believe it. Don't close it."

Supporters of the resolution say the city can no longer afford the center's $250,000 annual operating costs.

Council President Thomas Lajsic is proposing other facilities instead share the responsibility of providing those services.

"We wouldn't close it and leave the seniors hanging out there with no programs out there, obviously," Lajsic said. "We're looking at the possibility of partnering with some of the senior facilities in the West Allis area."

But the city's co-chair of the Commission on Aging contends the draw of the senior center is its convenience -- serving as a one-stop-shop in town for an aging population.

"The state is preparing for a silver tsunami," said Deborah Tiegs. "It would be devastating."

The Common Council is voting on the resolution on Wednesday evening. If it moves forward, the goal is to come up with a plan by July 1.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.