The Southlake Senior Activity Center (SSAC) has a new ride. Its 23-passenger, handicap accessible bus was delivered and dedicated February 15th at a ceremony with City of Southlake officials, funding donors, and an eagerly-awaiting group of seniors.
According to Liz Garvin, Senior Services Coordinator for the City of Southlake, a bus has been at the top of the SAC wish list for several years, but was a challenge due to the $130,000 price tag. She attributes the ultimate success to a group of seniors who formed Southlake Senior Funding, Inc. (SSFI), a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life, independence, dignity, and mental and physical health of the senior community in Southlake and surrounding areas. One of SSFI’s first initiatives was to assist with the purchase of a handicap accessible bus to be used for SAC programs, activities and trips.
Within a few months, SSFI raised $65,000 through a grant from the Amon G.Carter Foundation and private donations from The Thompson Group at Classic Chevrolet, Stacy Furniture and Cooper & Stebbins. SSFI then submitted a matching funds request to the Southlake City Council, which was approved unanimously in October 2010. As part of its agreement, the bus will also be used for Parks and Recreation programs, activities and trips.
“The new bus will open the door for us to enjoy so many more activities in the metroplex, especially evening events that are difficult for seniors to get to,” says Garvin, noting the maiden voyage will take place March 4 with a trip to the Amon Carter Museum. “We have been limited with day trips in the past because our budget only allowed us to rent a bus once a month.”
Garvin is in the process of hiring a professional, part-time driver and coordinating the logistics to establish designated pick-up locations in Southlake, Keller, Grapevine and other local cities for seniors to board the bus. It has been specifically designed to accommodate individuals with special needs and will comfortably fit two wheelchairs.
For more information about the Southlake Senior Activity Center, call 817-748-8398.