Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dunedin will pitch in $35,000 to keep adult day care open

DUNEDIN — The city has stepped up to ward off eviction for an adult day care center that serves dozens of local seniors and their caregivers.

Since 2002, a contract with Mease Dunedin Hospital has allowed the Neighborly Care Network to operate the day care center out of a hospital-owned facility at 820 New York Ave.

In addition to providing the rent-free building, the hospital for years also covered patient lunches, furnishings, utility and tax costs, parking and liability insurance in exchange for the nonprofit's staffing the center to serve up to 25 seniors or hospital patients a day.

The city wasn't a party to that agreement but donated $15,000 worth of handicap accessibility upgrades anyway.

In September, city officials said, the hospital told Neighborly Care Network it would have to leave by Dec. 31 because the building needs major roof and gutter repairs — an expense the hospital can't afford on top of a multimillion-dollar expansion of its emergency and operating rooms and other patient services.

At the urging of City Manager Rob DiSpirito and citizen volunteers on Dunedin's social services and aging committees, the City Commission voted unanimously last week to pay for the building renovations. The $35,000 will come from Dunedin's facilities capital fund reserves.

Under the new agreement, the day care center must continue to operate for five years or reimburse the city for the cost of the roof repair.

"I'm so humbled," Neighborly Care Network president and CEO Debra Shade told commissioners. "You all stepping up to the plate without us coming to ask just shows such a true commitment that you have to your seniors."

The day care center — one of four the nonprofit runs in Pinellas County — ensures that seniors with dementia, brain injuries or physical impairments can remain home with loved ones by providing their emotionally and physically drained caregivers with respite or the means to continue to work.

About 50 seniors are currently enrolled from one to five days a week, and the need continues to grow, Shade said.

"Assisting in the upkeep and repair of this community asset would be a reasonable use of city funds, in my opinion," DiSpirito said.

Consultants estimated the roof repair cost at $27,920, but the city recommended budgeting $35,000 in case workers encounter dry rot, termite damage or unforeseen problems once the original roof is removed.

Elected leaders praised the program and the partnership, though Commissioner Julie Ward Bujalski noted that building upkeep is technically the hospital's responsibility. She asked DiSpirito to ensure that the new agreement protects the city by holding Mease Dunedin's "feet to the fire" for future repairs.

Keyonna Summers can be reached at or (727) 445-4153. To write a letter to the editor, go to

>>fast facts

About the program

Find more information about Neighborly Care Network's adult day care program online at or call Marsha Coke, director of adult day services, at (727) 573-9444. Read documents and watch video of the City Commission's discussion at this link:

Dunedin will pitch in $35,000 to keep adult day care open 11/07/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 7:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility


    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia


    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber


    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  5. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]