A larger bus with better wheelchair access will be purchased and made available to Wellington senior citizens this summer using a $42,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation.
It will continue to offer rides to doctor’s appointments, churches, and local events. For four decades, the senior bus has helped older residents who cannot or no longer wish to get behind the wheel themselves.
The bus in use now was purchased with the same grant in 2004 but those funds came with stipulations to move toward a replacement after 10 years.
ODOT’s grant will cover 80 percent of the new vehicle’s cost with a remainder of approximately $10,000 paid for by the Wellington Senior Citizens Bus Association, a nonprofit entity separate from but overseen by the village.
Marla Lent, coordinator of the village’s office on aging, worked to secure the funds.
“We’re very excited,” she said. “It was just time for us to replace it so I reapplied for that money this past fall. There’s purchase orders and contracts that still need to be exchanged. Once that is done we’ll have a better idea when the bus will be ready for riders. I’m hoping late-spring.”
Features of the new bus include dual rear wheels, wheelchair access at the rear of the vehicle instead of on the side, and an increase in capacity from 10 to 14 passengers. It will also fit two passengers in wheelchairs simultaneously while the current vehicle has room for only one.
With two passengers in wheelchairs on board, the new bus will have room for eight other riders. If no one in a wheelchair is riding, there is space for 14.
“The way the wheelchair passengers will be positioned will open up accessibility for the others getting on and off the bus,” said Lent.
Mo Furcron, president of the Wellington Kiwanis and Well-Help, was also a key player in drumming up support for the grant.
“He’s driven the bus forever,” said Lent. “He got the word out about this grant quickly. He works with Well-Help, delivers Meals on Wheels, he just does so much and it’s always appreciated. He also just retired as my zoning inspector not too long ago. He’s very giving and always heavily involved in this community,” she said.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise A $42,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation has opened the door for a new Wellington senior bus to be purchased, replacing the older model seen here. It should be ready for passengers by late spring or early summer.