ST. MARYS — An area agency will soon be adding to its fleet of vehicles thanks in part to a grant program through the Ohio Department of Transportation.
The Auglaize County Council on Aging recently received notification it will receive funds to help cover the cost of a new light transit, wide body vehicle to help transport clients. The grant will cover 80 percent of the cost, while the ACCA will be responsible for making up the remaining 20 percent. A transport van typically used by the agency runs between $45,000 and $50,000. The new van, which is expected to be delivered sometime next year, will replace a vehicle with more than 175,000 miles on it.
“We do a lot of coordinated transportation with the entire county,” ACCA Director Chris Roby told The Evening Leader. “Last year, we drove more than 211,000 miles and with that amount of mileage that we put on those vehicles for our county seniors, it is imperative that we continue to receive these grants.”
The grants are even more critical for the ACCA in the wake of recent cuts to the agency’s funding streams. Without the vehicle grants, services for area seniors could diminish.
“Without these vehicle grants, we just wouldn’t be able to replace those vehicles,” Roby said. “We just really appreciate the county’s support because it means a lot to us. I’ve been working on these grants for 25 years, and I can’t say that we always get them, but lately, we are extremely glad that they have been approved because if not, then seniors would suffer and we wouldn’t be able to get them.”
The ACCA routinely provides transportation to medical appointments for county seniors. Trips include stops throughout Auglaize, Mercer, Shelby and Allen counties as well as to Columbus and Dayton.
“We just want to continue to do our best for our elderly residents,” Roby said.
“It means a lot for us to keep them in their own homes as long as possible.”