From its inception in 1973, and for 15 years thereafter, the first home of the Boone County Council on Aging was located in a tiny store front on South State Street in Belvidere, Illinois.
In 1988, due to the cramped quarters, The "Keen Age Center " relocated to a 4,000 sq. ft. rental area located at 306 Buchanan Street, in The Salvation Army building.Drawing by Artist Pat Richter However, as our aging population continued to grow, there was an ever increasing need for space and parking, and the Buchanan Street facility was determined to be inadequate to handle the needs of new technology. So, in 1992 a goal to secure our own site by our 25th anniversary (1998) was set.
Throughout its history BCCA has networked with many services and agencies to study and review site locations. In depth study of our needs indicated that our new facility must have the following amenities to serve our older adults effectively:
- ADA Accessibility
- Increased parking
- Kitchen / Dining Facilities
- A multi-use community room
- Secure and safe location
- At least 10,000 square feet
- More, and larger restrooms
- Restful, park-like setting
In 1997 a gift of land was offered by Jack & Peggy Wolf and Family, with the provision that building begin by 2001. A number of land sites were considered, but it was strongly felt that the Wolf land, located at 2141 Henry Luckow Lane was the best suited, and was gratefully accepted.
The new building was designed for 12,000 sq. ft., a warming kitchen, 2 large community rooms, library, computer lab, billiards room, and expanded office space for staff were included.
A committee of committed community leaders was enlisted to "break down" the task of raising money, and the legwork began. A grass-roots fund raising effort was undertaken to raise the additional $1.8 million needed to complete the building project. A grant of $250,000 was received from the State of Illinois, and $550,000 had already been raised.
Townships, villages, businesses, not-for-profit organizations and individuals were identified and approached to give generously to the "Focusing on You" Fund Raising Effort. Innovative ideas and strategies for raising money were implemented and the response from the people of Boone County has been magnificent! Ground was broken in 2000, and the building was completed in 2001.
So successful was this effort, that the Boone County Council on Aging "Keen Age Center" received statewide recognition as a model for other communities when it was awarded the prestigious Governor's Hometown Award in 2002.
In addition to the generous gift of land, the Wolf family also donated two magnificent bronze statues and a Memorial Garden to the Keen Age Center which provide the lovely park-like setting we had hoped for, and a peaceful spot for our older adults and anyone else to relax and rest, and even pet the dog!
While we have had great successes in raising the funds for this facility, our work is not done! We still have more money to raise to pay off the construction loans for the building. Your generosity is appreciated.
Click here to learn more about how your donation, no matter how large or small, can help us to continue to serve the older adults of Boone County.