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Posted on Nov 6, 2014

Senior: Quincy has a transportation problem

A “large and rapidly growing” elderly and handicapped population faces few transportation options in Quincy, one active senior citizen told the Quincy City Council on Tuesday.

The city is about to hold an open house for its new animal shelter, and it is finding much success with youth in the recreation department, said 84-year-old citizen Jackie Ovenell. Now it’s time to help the elderly and handicapped population, Ovenell said.

“Something needs to be done in this growing community to provide for this need,” she said.

Ovenell, who is legally blind, is an active volunteer in the community. She recently gathered “three pages” of signatures from community members who agree there is a lack of transportation for the elderly and handicapped in Quincy.

Ovenell also has spoken with police Chief Bob Heimbach and Mayor Jim Hemberry about this issue.

“I have faith that once the city council is made aware of our needs, it will provide amiable and long-lasting solutions to this problem,” Ovenell wrote in a letter to the council.

Seniors are told that to maintain their health, they need to active, Ovenell said. However, that’s becoming increasingly difficult in Quincy, she added.

There are no taxis or local bus services in Quincy, and Grant County Transit is not geared to provide help for the local elderly and handicapped, she wrote in her letter. Ovenell has contacted several organizations looking for a solution but has not been able to find one, she said.

She used to be able to walk from The Grainery, where her granddaughter drops her off most mornings, to Heartland Pharmacy to pick up her medications. Now, with Shopko relocating the pharmacy to the west side of town, walking to 13th Avenue would be difficult for her as well as other people in the community, she said.

Ovenell said she was at the council meeting to inform city leaders about her concerns and ask they help find a solution. The elderly have provided the city leadership in the past, as well as tax dollars. And now they are the community volunteers, she added.

“I think it’s high time that we look to the needs of the elderly (and) handicapped,” she said.
The city council asked its Community Planning and Economic Development Committee to research Ovenell’s concerns and requests.