In the final days of the 2019 regular session of the New Mexico State Legislation, a bill was overwhelmingly passed in both the Senate and House that will, in part, provide funding for a series of state-wide senior center upgrade projects.
Those centers are administered by the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department, an agency created in 2004 that is designed to respond to the needs of seniors across the state.
With New Mexico’s 65 years of age and above population slated to be the fourth largest in the country by the year 2030, the need for those services, say agency officials, is only going to increase.
For that reason state lawmakers considered, and finally voted, to approve capital outlay funding for senior center facility upgrades that will include $334,000 to construct and renovate the Village of Tijeras Senior Center in Tijeras; and $61,000 for renovations and equipment purchases for the Silver City Senior Center.
Also slated to receive funds is the Ruidoso Senior Citizens Center, which will receive $49,000 for renovation work; and the Ruidoso Downs Senior Center, set for nearly $126,000 in renovation funding.
Lawmakers also approved $140,000 for the Betty Ehart Center in Los Alamos, with that money mostly going for renovation work; and $143,000 for renovations to the Bloomfield Senior Center in northeast New Mexico.
The Pueblo of Zuni Senior Center is getting $42,000 for renovations and new construction, as well as site and drainage improvement work; while the Aztec Senior Community Center is set to receive $54,000 for code compliance upgrade work.
Code compliance work is also scheduled for the Socorro Senior Center, which is receiving $116,000 for that work.
One of the larger items is the nearly $638,000 for design, construction, and renovation work at the Taos Senior Center.
The planned construction of a new senior center in Santa Fe, to be built off of New Mexico Highway 14, is receiving $800,000.
Senior centers in New Mexico are generally open daily, offering seniors a meeting place, and place to dine together, while also offering everything from computer labs and fitness centers, to arts and crafts and music classes.
The capital outlay funds approved by the lawmakers must be spent between this year and 2023.
By Garry Boulard
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