At the December 12, 2016 School Board meeting, the Board approved a senior transportation transition plan that closes the Lionmobile Program in the spring of 2017. The Lionmobile will continue to service current riders through March 31, 2017 but will no longer take on new riders. Most Senior transportation needs in the community are and will continue to be served by other providers. The Senior Program will continue to help individuals and families connect with these transportation alternatives.
"Seeing changes made to the Lionmobile, a beloved White Bear institution, is a sad process," said Senior Program Coordinator Tara Jebens-Singh, "but having the Lions with us every part of the way has made it easier. Together we have worked toward the goal of doing right by our riders, and we look forward to continuing to partner to serve the Seniors in the community."
The Senior Program has engaged the community, informing a large group of stakeholders and collecting feedback from various constituents regarding the proposed change. The White Bear Lake Lion's Club has been part of this decision process and will continue to be a strong partner and supporter of the White Bear Area Senior Program.
"I remember seeing the Lionmobile around White Bear when I was a student in this district a long time ago," said School Board Chair Janet Newberg. "Not only that, but seeing all of the charitable works that the White Bear Lions have done over the years in so many different areas - you support the kids, the school district, the elderly, the community. We know that even though you may not be continuing to operate the Lionmobile you're going to continue to do so much good for this community."
As part of the transition plan, the Senior Program will work to actively educate seniors about transportation options through outreach events scheduled:
January 9 - 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., White Bear Area YMCA, 2100 Orchard Lane, White Bear Lake
January 24 - 2-3 p.m., Vadnais Heights City Hall, Council Chambers, 800 East County Road E, Vadnais Heights
February 8 - 1-2 p.m., Ramsey County Library, White Bear Lake, 2150 2nd Street, White Bear Lake
This winter, the district will distribute a new White Bear Area Guide to Senior Transportation, a guide that complements a popular Housing Guide produced by the Senior Program this fall. At the close of the program, the legacy of the Lionmobile vehicle will be honored in a meaningful and celebratory way.
The School District continues to be committed to the Senior Program. "The transition does not represent a reduction of funds or focus, but a reallocation of resources to meet the changing needs of seniors," explained Superintendent Dr. Michael Lovett. "We deeply appreciate the support and advocacy of the Lions Club and look forward to continuing this important partnership."
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