Senior center gets new minibus

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Beacon Falls Senior Center President and minibus driver Bernadette Dionne, right, receives the keys to a new minibus from First Selectman Christopher Bielik Aug. 26 at the center as, from left, Ernie Tyers, Jeanette Bogen, Jan Allard, Millie Kevit and Helen Cesarczyk line up alongside the bus. –LUKE MARSHALL
Beacon Falls Senior Center President and minibus driver Bernadette Dionne, right, receives the keys to a new minibus from First Selectman Christopher Bielik Aug. 26 at the center as, from left, Ernie Tyers, Jeanette Bogen, Jan Allard, Millie Kevit and Helen Cesarczyk line up alongside the bus. –LUKE MARSHALL

BEACON FALLS — The Beacon Falls Senior Center has a new ride.

The center’s new minibus arrived this month.

“It’s just awesome. It’s got everything. It’s like a Cadillac,” said Beacon Falls Senior Center President Bernadette Dionne, who drives the bus.

The town received a state grant that covered 80 percent of the cost in the 2014-15 fiscal year, First Selectman Christopher Bielik said. The total cost of the bus was about $50,000. The town was responsible for about $10,000, Bielik said.

The bus, which is a Ford F350, replaces a minibus the senior center already owned.

Dionne said there was nothing significantly wrong with the previous bus, yet. But, she said it was getting old and the center wanted to replace it before it broke down.

The future of the old minibus is expected to be discussed at the Board of Selectman meeting on Sept. 14, Bielik said.

Dionne said the center uses the bus for eight to 14 trips a week, taking residents to places such as the doctor’s office or the grocery store. The new minibus has air conditioning, comfortable seats and is easier to board and exit for seniors who have trouble walking, Dionne said.