The results are in and Oak Lawn’s seniors have spoken. The consensus appears to be that Oak Lawn’s senior services are underwhelming.
As the Leaf has previously reported, the Village has been sending out a survey to seniors asking for input on the Oak Lawn Senior Center services. The survey asks seniors to grade several activities that could be provided and asks for any improvements or additional activities that seniors would like to see in the area of programming.
Among the most common concerns of seniors were the lack of amenities and the lack of space at the current Senior Center.
The Bury administration recently announced that the senior center would return to the center of the village and be co-located with the Johnson-Phelps VFW. Bury even signed a memorandum along with the VFW Post Commander, Dan Johnson, signifying an intent to move the project forward. Some seniors responded to the survey writing that they didn’t want to be put in the basement of the VFW.
Previous Mayor Dave Heilmann and the previous Board had planned to build a senior center and community complex in cooperation with Advocate Christ Hospital at the old Beatty Lumber property in the center of town. (Conceptual drawings are above). That plan was scuttled by Bury and the new board, which attempted to move the senior center to Park District land in a complicated land swap. That plan was eventually dropped when the Oak Lawn Park District terminated discussions, with Park officials stating their a lack of trust in the Village administration.
The scuttled concept plan from the previous board would appear to have satisfied many of the complaints and requests of seniors. There is currently no clear plan for the Senior Center’s future.
There were 75 written responses to this survey, according to Village records provided in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Several points were made repeatedly.
- Indoor pool
- More space
- More trips
- Greater variety of trips
- Speakers about more than nursing homes
- Surrounding communities have better centers and services, such as Stickney Township’s Louis S. Viverito Senior Center in Burbank
- Cramped spaces for activities, some group meeting rooms being called “a closet”
- Unaware of senior center & its activities
- Needs to be in a central, easily accessible location