Richmond organizes senior programs for summer

By Gregory Harutunian For Chronicle Media

Richmond’s Memorial Hall now has an ADA-compliant concrete ramp, from the sidewalk to its south entrance. (Photo by Gregory Harutunian/for Chronicle Media)

The Village of Richmond is sponsoring three summer programs in an effort to fill the gap in social event activities that are lacking for senior citizens living within the municipality. The initiative is also a trial attempt to gauge response as a gateway to future events, and potentially utilize tie-ins with other agencies for services and amenities.

The programs will be held in the historic Memorial Hall, located at 10308 Main St. in Richmond, from 1-3 p.m. June 8, July 14, and Aug. 11 carrying the themes “Putting Jigsaw Puzzles Together,” Coloring Together,” and “Knitting and Crocheting Together” respectively, for each session. The programs are free, and light refreshment are being provided.

“There are really no senior citizen programs in the village, and this came out of a 2015 community survey where comments said there was a lack of activities for seniors,” said Village Clerk Karla Thomas. “So, we brainstormed for activity ideas … they just want something that’s local, convenient, and available to seniors. We’re also grateful to Richmond Township for providing transportation.”

Richmond Village Clerk Karla Thomas organized the senior programs to fill a void, and respond to a 2015 survey suggestion. (Photo by Gregory Harutunian/for Chronicle Media)

Kelly Vorisek, the township’s transportation coordinator, said, “They reached out to us, and asked if we would provide the transportation for the programs. Our pick-up points are at the senior residential centers and we will go wherever seniors live, even at their homes. Even though we participate with McRide, through PACE, we have our own senior transportation, where we take them to concerts, and get them involved in the community. We don’t want anyone to feel isolated.”

The McHenry County Dial-A-Ride is a partnership between the county, PACE, townships, and municipalities, such as Richmond, and a service that seniors can use for a $1.25 base fare, and also travel to western county townships sites.

“We started with a ride-sharing program Jan. 1 this year and it’s well worth it,” said Thomas. “Our payment share is $18.74, and charged on a $1 base on the per capita number in our population, which is 1,874.

“Another area of importance was installing new stairs in front of Memorial Hall, and a complete ramp leading to the side door, from the sidewalk, on the south side of the building,” she said. “We are fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and something the village has been planning to do, ever since we purchased the building. The programs will take place there.”

Memorial Hall, built in 1906, has received major upgrades for ease of access. (Photo by Gregory Harutunian/for Chronicle Media)

Memorial Hall was built in 1906, following the great fire that consumed the downtown area on Christmas Eve, three years before, as a meeting place and community center for events. It also hosted school sports contests, and for many years, served as the village offices and housed its police department and jail. The Richmond-Spring Grove Food Pantry also operated out of the basement before moving to 5512 May St.

“In organizing these programs, I am trying to do it in a reasonable way that would provide benefits to seniors, and be free of charge,” said Thomas. “If there isn’t enough response to these programs, they’ll be cancelled. What we’re really hoping is that it will be well-attended, and can dovetail into other programs. “

Registration for the programs is required by contacting the village at 815-678-4040. Arrangements for door-to-door service through the Richmond Township Transportation Program can be made by calling 815-678-0077.


–Richmond organizes senior programs for summer–