When Elaine McCellan, and her husband Thomas, moved to Piedmont in 1978 she didn’t mind having to drive into Oklahoma City for services, such as a grocery store, but she always told herself that by the time she turned 80 she would like one to be located in Piedmont.
The city has given a lot of attention to creating a community that is attractive for families, especially those with young children. A comprehensive plan is under works in an effort to set a vision for Piedmont’s future, but with a large number of senior adults calling the town home, it is important to consider the needs of Piedmont’s older citizens. Many senior citizens share similar wants and needs to the rest of the community. More retail businesses and recreational opportunities are some of the most common requests but older adults also want to see an increase in safety and better mobility.
Judy Morgan has lived in Piedmont since 2007 and uses a wheel chair to get around. Judy and her husband, Joe, love living in Piedmont with their daughter but some of their favorite places in town, such as the Historical Society’s museum on Monroe St., are unreachable.
“Piedmont is not really that handicap accessible,” Judy said. “I know they are working on redoing the sidewalk (in downtown) but I can’t get into the museum right now.”
Piedmont lacks a large number of pedestrian areas, but the short strip along the old downtown is full of chipped sidewalks and worn out ramps. Judy said those conditions make it near impossible for her to visit the museum and she would like to see handicap-friendly design incorporated into any future development plans.
“One thing I do like is the Piedmont Service Center brings a bus,” Judy said. “That’s a big help for getting around to (community) events.”
Overall, Judy loves living in Piedmont and said she doesn’t have many complaints. Her biggest want is handicap accessibility, but her husband has another thing on the top of his wish-list.
“If we just had a Braum’s out here that would be perfect,” Joe said. “I have probably written them three letters asking them to come out here.”
Restaurants like Braum’s and the Piedmont Cuisine provide places for residents of all ages to gather together and enjoy a meal and conversation. Local churches have attempted to provide that opportunity for Piedmont’s older adults, such as Piedmont United Methodist Church, which holds weekly and monthly activities. Last week, the church’s senior citizen organization sponsored a Christmas dinner, an event that brought dozens of local senior citizens together.
“These types of events are important,” said Evelyn Munsell, who acts as the organization’s leader. “Providing opportunities for fellowship and community are what we are trying to do.”
Munsell said she would like to see the church’s ministry to senior citizens continue to grow, but she also has her own ideas of what she would like to see in Piedmont.
“I would like to see a (fitness) facility that offers swimming,” Munsell said. “I think that’s a big need in the older adult community in Piedmont.”