A project that Sparks City Councilman Donald Abbott has been championing since he became elected is finally coming to fruition, and now he is calling for applications for people to join the Sparks Senior Citizens Advisory Committee (SSCAC). Currently, Washoe County and Reno have senior-centric advisory boards that a few Sparks residents are involved in, but a specific SSCAC will give Sparks equal representation on regional senior issues.
“I’ve been working on this for a year. Washoe County takes care of our seniors and Sparks seniors serve on that board, so there will be some overlap but this will give Sparks’ seniors a voice,” Abbott says. While Sparks does have a senior center already for older folks to convene at, located on 97 Richards Way, the city does not provide specific programs for the community’s seniors (however, the city does provide staff time for facilitating the meetings already included in its budget).
Many times, Sparks’ older residents relay their frustrations to the city’s elected representatives yet the city council feels at a loss for how to reconcile the problems. The purpose of this committee is to get seniors together on a regular basis to look specifically at senior issues and prompt open discussion and come up with possible solutions to improve the quality of life for Sparks seniors.
The SSCAC will have a similar concept as the existing Sparks Citizens Advisory Committee that Abbott served on before he was elected, yet be concurrent with senior-focused Washoe County and Reno groups.
“The main principle is for seniors to have a voice in the City of Sparks,” Abbott says. With Sparks seniors working together, it also takes the burden off of city councilmembers to try to fix their most pressing issues and have more of a direct relationship with Washoe County on region-wide initiatives.
Some of the most pressing issues for seniors in the community involve senior-centric events, housing, and transportation/RTC access. Abbott says that there is always strength in numbers and when people can come together as a board and explain changes and voice their opinions in a group, then that can cause some momentum for positive change in the Sparks community.
“This is exciting for me because this has been one of my first projects (since being an elected official) and it’s taken so long to accomplish,” Abbott says.
A call for applications is open now to serve on the SSCAC. Once a good number of interested parties have applied, Sparks city councilmembers will make their selections. Each Sparks city councilmember will appoint an older person- preferably from their ward- to serve on the Committee and the mayor will choose two Sparks residents to make up a seven person board.
Knowledge of senior issues in the community will help councilmembers determine their nominations, but the only true requirement is that board members interested in serving on the Committee must live in the City of Sparks. The city has received a few applications so far, but would like to fill the committee seats as quickly as possible.
To be considered for a seat, visit http://cityofsparks.us/resources/resource/volunteer-bandc/.