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Vandalism, thefts end senior center rental policy

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Something stolen or broken almost every time building was rented, director says

By Molly Haines

Senior citizens can rest easier knowing that the Owen County Senior Center will no longer be rented out.

Owen County Senior Center Director Lisa McBurney approached the Owen County Fiscal Court at its Jan. 12 meeting requesting that the rental fee be raised or rental of the center be completely stopped.

McBurney told the court items were being stolen from the center or vandalized nearly every time it was rented.

“Things are being stolen and broken and our ability to lock and secure things is really limited,” McBurney said.

The building could be rented for $65 and if everything was in good standing after the event, $25 would be given back to the renter, McBurney said.

“We had a reception a couple of years ago and people had climbed the walls and stolen greenery around my office,” McBurney said “They had broken the piano bench and knocked a hole in the wall behind the piano. It was just a total wreck.”

McBurney said tables, personal decorations that seniors had brought to the center and utensils had been broken.

“We have a $1,500 treadmill in there and I’m always terrified that something’s going to happen to it,” McBurney said. “We just really don’t have the means to pack up, put up and lock up these items.”

McBurney said the center’s restroom toilet had recently been filled with toilet paper.

“The water company had to come out here and dig up the road just to get the toilet paper through the line,” McBurney said. “Buttons were being pushed on the steam table in the kitchen. I’m sure it was kids, but we just can’t risk something happening to the center.”

McBurney said a new lock had been put on the storage-room door and someone had attempted to unlock it.

A motion was made and seconded to no longer rent the center.

Owen County Judge-executive Carolyn Keith said she would agree to the seniors’ wishes.

“The building was built by the Owen County Jaycee’s and donated as a senior center,” Keith said. “They’ve been able to acquire some really good equipment but they have no way to secure those items. More has been spent in repairs than we’ve gotten in rent. We do have other nice areas now that can be used for different events. I wanted to do whatever the seniors thought was best because it is their center.”

McBurney said she was pleased with the decision.

“It was me and my seniors cleaning up the center, not the fiscal court,” McBurney said. “It was our stuff getting broken or stolen, not the court’s.”