If each major event in history constitutes a chapter, then the
last year for the Oasis has been a chapter within itself. It was
just a little over 12 months ago that the Oasis downtown building
was struck by lightning, and burned. After several hours of fighting
the fire, it was brought under control and extinguished. But, the
devastation to the building was overwhelming.
After much consideration, the board of directors of the Oasis
determined that they were not going to be able to do what it would
take to restore the building. They were able to sell that structure
to local businessman David Lanterman, who now does have plans to
bring the building back to its former glory at some point in the
For the Oasis, the search began for a new location, and over the
next several months the group made some forward-thinking decisions,
including purchasing the former Rusty’s Clubhouse on the city’s far
west side. In making this purchase, they were looking ahead to the
future of the senior center and the population it would be serving
down the road. The building had more than enough space for the
organization to expand its services and its ability to serve Logan
Though the building had ample space for the organization, the
lay-out of the former sports bar and restaurant was not conducive to
the overall plan of the board. The next step then was to hire a
contractor who would be able to transform the space into something
more appropriate. After taking bids on the project, Webster
Construction of Lincoln was hired to do a complete remodel of the
The floor plan included special features such as a computer room
with multiple workstations that would be available to the membership
as needed. Another big feature is the wellness center that includes
workout equipment that is suited to older participants.
The kitchen features separated stations, including a butler’s pantry
style room for food service, kitchen complete with stoves,
refrigerators, and new freezers, and a separate room for the deep
Also included in the floor plan was an amazing space for a new gift
shop, which by Saturday was filled to the brim with gorgeous items
for sale. And finally, there is office space for the executive
director, Dom Dalpoas, and a large and elegant boardroom complete
with a beautiful crystal chandelier.
On Saturday, the Oasis opened its doors to the community inviting
everyone in to see the transformation and help celebrate the
organization’s 30 years of service to the Logan County community.
As part of the recognition of the new building, the Lincoln & Logan
County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cut outside the building.
Ellen Burbage opened the ribbon cut by expressing appreciation to
all the board members and the community for all they have done to
help bring this day to fruition. Clearly emotional she ended her
comments saying, “Who would have thought last June 21st that we
would be here today.”
The Reverend Jan Johnson of the St. John’s United Church of Christ
then led the group in a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing for the
new facility and the organization on the whole.
Chamber director Andi Hake spoke prior to the snip of the ribbon,
“On behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, we are so thrilled for you
guys.” She continued, “Congratulations, we hope you have a long,
long life here at your new Oasis home." Then with the crowd counting
down, three, two, one - the ribbon was cut.
With the temperatures hitting above 90 degrees, the event was
quickly moved back inside.
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Once inside the Oasis, Burbage acted as the master of
ceremonies, introducing Mayor Keith Snyder, who offered words of
congratulations to the Oasis for their 30 years, as well as the
completion of their new building.
Dom Dalpoas spoke to a packed house. He talked about the sense
of community that he has always felt in Lincoln and Logan
County. He recalled that back in the day when a neighbor
suffered a loss, everyone gathered around and helped that person
overcome the loss. He said the past year had shown that sense of
community is still strong in Lincoln and Logan County. He told
the group, the Oasis could not have accomplished what it has in
the past year had it not been for all those who were anxious to
pitch in and help.
Dalpoas offered high praises to the people
of the community and the volunteers who worked so hard to get the
Oasis back on its feet. He offered up a closing remark saying, “In
conclusion, you can travel all through the central part of Illinois,
and for that matter I’m almost certain you could travel the state of
Illinois, and you would not come across a center remotely close to
what you are in right now.”
The official ceremony wrapped up with Burbage offering an
acknowledgement of past directors, board members and present board
Past and present executive directors are Rebecca Drake (1984-1986),
Jane Mikelson (1986-1991), MeLane Coulter (1991-1999), Judy Donath
(1999-2001) and Dom Dalpoas (2001 to current).
Past and present board presidents are Ed Bayer – deceased
(1984-1985), Bernice Hackett (1986-1987), Marge Fuller – deceased
(1988-1991), Gene Chapman - deceased (1992-1994), Mary Alvey –
deceased (1994-1996), Nancy Amberg – deceased (1996-1997), Dean
Baker (1998 – 2001 and again in 2003), David Laforge – deceased
(2003). John Hart (2004), John Drake (2005) Dennis Brown
(2006-2007), Don Peasley (2008), Bob Albert (2009-2010), Bob Jeckel
(2011-2012), Wally Reifsteck (2013-2014), and Ellen Burbage (2014
Current board members are Ellen Burbage, president; Bob Parrish,
vice president; Carol Schauer’, secretary; Shirley Jordan,
treasurer; Bob Albert, Debra Aper, Marilyn Armburst, Alexis Asher,
Harold Boyer, Lynnette Bruce, Betty Burger, Marcia Cook, Steve
Elkins, Jean Hall, Nancy Kleinman, Elaine Knight, Janet Kvitle,
Keith Leesman, David Newhouse and William Post.
Current Oasis staff includes Executive Director Dominic Dalpoas and
Georgia Binzen as secretary.
With the close of the official ceremonies, all guests were invited
to take tours of the building and to go into the dining room to
enjoy refreshments including punch, fresh fruit, cupcakes and cake.
[By NILA SMITH]