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HEATH SPRINGS - The Lancaster County Council on Aging will continue its services at the Heath Springs Senior Center after all.
The board of the Catawba Area Agency on Aging, the purse holder of federal and state funds for the Lancaster County Council on Aging, requested Dec. 18 that the local council continue its services at the Heath Springs Senior Center.
The next day, the agency received confirmation that the board of the local council had agreed to the request, said Catawba Area Agency on Aging Director Barbara Robinson.
Robinson said the decision by the Lancaster County Council on Aging to pull services was made without completing a prescribed process set forth by the Catawba Area agency, the contract holder for the local council.
She said the agency's board didn't have the time or information needed to make a "rational" decision to support the local council, so it opted for the status quo.
"The services will be retained at the center just as they had been," Robinson said.
Lancaster County Council on Aging Director Sally Sherrin said Friday that the local council believed it provided sufficient information to support pulling services from the center and consolidating them with the Kershaw Satellite Senior Center.
She said the local council and the S.C. Office on Aging could provide the Catawba office with additional information to support its original decision to pull services from Heath Springs.
But she said she doesn't believe the local council would try to take such action in the "immediate future."
Sherrin said in early December that services were scheduled to be pulled as of Jan. 1 due to a failed "working relationship" between the local council and the group running the Heath Springs Senior Center in the afternoon.
The Lancaster County Council on Aging's board approved the decision in late November. Sherrin said the board believed then it was best to consolidate Heath Springs services with those in Kershaw.
The council invited Heath Springs seniors to partake in activities, such as hot meals and games, at the Kershaw Satellite Senior Center about five miles away.
Heath Springs Mayor Ann Taylor said earlier this month that the town's seniors would refuse to go to Kershaw. She also said they were greatly disturbed that their services were being moved out of town.
"They were very upset, and they aren't in a place in their lives where they need to be upset and dislocated," Taylor said then.
On Dec. 12, officials from the S.C. Lieutenant Governor's Office on Aging visited the Heath Springs center to reassure nearly 100 seniors that the services they enjoy would remain in Heath Springs as the Catawba Area Agency on Aging would oversee the center until a permanent managing agent was named.
Heath Springs Town Councilman and Lancaster County Silver-Haired Legislator Ted Sowell said Friday that he isn't happy that the Lancaster County Council on Aging will still provide services at the center. He said the decision to pull services from the center was a "mutual agreement," which ended a bitter relationship.
"My viewpoint is that the sooner the Lancaster County Council on Aging, i.e. Sally Sherrin, are away from the center the better off Heath Springs seniors will be," he said Friday.
Sowell said there are numerous ways to fund and operate the center without the Lancaster County Council on Aging involved. It could be run by a church, civic group or local government, he said.
"In our case, it would be under the town, under an advisory board and funds would run through the town treasury," Sowell said.
Efforts to end the relationship between the senior center and the Lancaster County Council on Aging are not over, Sowell said.
Contact Johnathan Ryan at 416-8416 or firstname.lastname@example.org