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Plans halted for Manistee County senior center

In the last week the council announced they will no longer be able to afford the new development.

MANISTEE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- The Manistee County Council on Aging has been trying to put a senior center where Oleson's Grocery Store used to be.

The property is located off US-31 in Manistee.

Those plans, however, have been halted due to financial reasons.

Executive Director Sarah Howard said they outgrew their current location on River Street and were looking to build on the property.

“The concept of the project was a senior village which would have been the senior center, a grocery store that is still going in there, senior affordable housing and possible two other apartment sites,” Howard said.

In the last week the council announced they will no longer be able to afford the new development.

“We just honestly could not afford the monthly installments and different things we would have to pay back," Howard said. "We never want to put seniors at risk of losing everything, the services and programs we provide.”

While they may have backed out of the plan, the senior center still owed money to the developer.

“The $125,000 was an escrow or good faith money for the developer," Howard said. That was paid for through Certificate of Deposits.

Unfortunately that was money the council wouldn’t get back but through donations, people in the community were able to lend a helping hand.

“A generous donor who gave us that $100,000 towards that amount of money to make [the deposit] whole again for the senior center and the other money, the other $25,000 we did have a couple of nice donations from memorials.”

City officials hope the pursuit for a new building continues.

“To have a senior center, a grocery store, housing, a pharmacy and other retail, I thought it would be phenomenal but unfortunately it just didn’t come together,” Manistee City Manager Thad Taylor said.

Right now the Manistee County Council on Aging is actively working to find another location.

A Save-A-Lot will open in the old Oleson’s building sometime in January.

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