Aroostook Agency on Aging moving to new space
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Aroostook Agency on Aging will be starting the year 2019 in new headquarters at a larger space on Main Street in Presque Isle, with plans for new programs and technology that will boost its mission of helping older people live well and independently.
“We’re very excited. It’s in the works,” said Joy Barresi Saucier, executive director of the Aroostook Agency on Aging.
The nonprofit agency serving older and disabled individuals in Aroostook County plans to move around the first of the new year from its current headquarters on Edgemont Drive near the Skyway Industrial Park to a part of a plaza on Main Street that has largely been vacant in recent years.
Barresi Saucier said the agency will be transitioning to its new space as renovations there finish up and plans to be fully open by the end of March. The total cost for renovating the new space and acquiring new office furniture, equipment and technology will be approximately $221,000.
The agency is in the midst of a fundraising campaign with foundations and individuals to cover about $161,000 of those costs. It’s also applied for a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s community facilities program to cover some of the costs of purchasing new videoconferencing technology.
The new facility will have about 7,700 square feet and will roughly double the agency’s current office space, Barresi Saucier said. It will have private offices for consultations, rooms with videoconferencing technology, and a community and team room.
“Because we provide services to all of Aroostook County and have staff all over Aroostook County, the intention is that we will have technology that will allow us to bridge the gap to other parts of The County, both for clients and staff,” Barresi Saucier said. “In addition, it will let us bring programs from the rest of the state here. Many of those relate to our wellness area of focus.”
The space at 260 South Main Street is being leased from R&L Real Estate LLC, formed in 2006 by Robert and Gregory Graves, and renovation work is being done by Buck Construction.
The Aroostook Agency on Aging also operates Gathering Place on Davis Street, the agency’s original headquarters that now hosts its adult day program and nutrition services.
The new headquarters will offer better parking, accessibility, and visibility in the community, said agency board chair Rev. Ken Phelps. “This new place is much more suitable. It puts us out in the community, where the community can see us,” he said.
“We have an increasing number of seniors. Funding for nonprofits is tight. Federal and state government budgets are tight. And we’re called to do more.”
Phelps and Barresi Saucier said that the new space will also help the agency grow its ranks of volunteers.
“We’re interested in taking our volunteers to a higher level,” Phelps said, adding that many recent retirees can continue using their skills as retirees. “It gives retirees meaningful volunteer work to do. That is a real high priority.”
Barresi Saucier said the agency currently serves about 5,800 senior citizens each year and has about 140 volunteers.
“Our goal is to double or even triple the number of volunteers and deepen our services in the communities we serve,” Barresi Saucier said. “It’s the intention of most people to stay in their own communities as long as they can. When we age in our communities, we bring energy and values to our communities.”