This week, in addition to celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a
corned beef and cabbage lunch, the membership also celebrated
another step toward establishing a new permanent home.
Last October, the senior group bought Rusty's Clubhouse on the
city's west side. As the diners enjoyed their St. Patrick's meal,
executive director Dom Dalpoas announced that the building committee
had selected a contractor to redesign the former steakhouse into a
beautiful new home for the Oasis.
Webster Construction of Lincoln has been awarded the contract and
has already started work on the interior of the former restaurant.
Dalpoas introduced Webster co-owners Kurt Fitzpatrick and Mike
Miller to the crowd. The men were called to the front of the room,
with Dalpoas making a joke, telling everyone to look and remember
their faces because when they have issues with the construction,
these will be the two men to call on.
Both men spoke briefly expressing appreciation for the contract
and a desire to do a good job for the seniors.
Dalpoas shared another very important announcement shortly
thereafter. He told the audience that the owners and staff of
Fricke-Calvert-Schrader Funeral Homes were a group of people that
the community has come to count on in times of need. Those times of
need are usually at the loss of a loved one, but on this occasion,
Fricke-Calvert-Schrader had recognized another need in the community
and had come forward to answer that need with a generous donation.
They are providing the lighted signage that will be installed at the
new Oasis site.
Dalpoas told the group that providing the signage for the Oasis
was no small gift, that to have the signage they needed was going to
cost quite a bit of money, and Fricke-Calvert-Schrader's gift was
greatly appreciated by the building committee.
Dalpoas said the signage would be installed shortly and that with
good luck, the Oasis would have a lighting ceremony before the end
of the month. The folks from Fricke would be the ones to "throw the
switch" for the first time.
Chuck and Nathan Fricke along with Steve Jenness and Ron Olthoff
were also brought to the front of the room for the group to
acknowledge with applause. Afterward Chuck Fricke spoke briefly,
saying his father was the first to own the funeral home, then
himself, and now the third-generation owner is Chuck's son Nathan.
Chuck turned the microphone over to Nathan, who spoke briefly,
acknowledging the generosity of St. John's for giving the Oasis a
place to meet.
Dalpoas also told the crowd that the blueprints for the new floor
plan were on hand for anyone who wanted to take a look at them. He
said there were still some small details that needed be worked out,
such as light switches and other miscellaneous items. He invited
anyone who had suggestions on these matters to share them.
In the floor plans, the main front entry of the building will
remain where it is now. To the right, on the east end, will be a
community space for social gathering. It will feature a fireplace on
the east wall with a flat-screen television over the mantel and a
comfortable sitting area.
There will also be several table and chair groupings for games
and coffee klatches.
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In the back northeast corner of the room will be a separate
area set up as a computer lab, and four offices will be located
along the north wall, working toward the center of the building.
In the center of the building will be the Oasis Gift Shop, a
board and meeting room, and a fitness room with exercise equipment.
The restaurant kitchen will be updated and used by the Oasis as
On the west end of the building, the dining area will continue to
be in two sections as it was when it was a restaurant. There will be
a separate entry on the west end of the building into the dining
area and another entry into a corridor leading to pantry storage and
When the Oasis first purchased the retired restaurant, there was
talk of partitioning off a portion of the building to lease to
another business or agency. Thursday afternoon Oasis board president
Wallace Reifsteck said those plans had changed. However, he said
what they may do in the future is rent out portions of their space
for meetings or banquets.
He said the far west end dining area could be let out to anyone
wishing to rent dining space. The east end of the building could
also be let out, but because it will have carpet instead of tile,
they would prohibit food in that area.
During his monthly announcements at the end of lunch, Dalpoas
told the group the timeline for completion of the remodeling is in
the range of May 19 to June 2. As he read the announcements for
upcoming events for the seniors, he noted that there will be an AARP
driver course on June 10, and he said it is scheduled to take place
at the new building.
The decision to purchase the Rusty's building was made after
extensive work by the Oasis building committee. Right after the
fire, the group held hopes of restoring their downtown building, but
complications with mold as well as compliance issues and the cost of
restoration brought the group to conclude that restoration was not
going to be feasible.
According to Marilyn Armbrust, who served on the committee, the
group looked at many locations before deciding on the former
restaurant. When they chose Rusty's, they did so based on some
specific assets the property had to offer. The group noted the large
parking area, something they didn't have at the old location. They
also appreciated that the building was wheelchair-accessible and
already had ADA-compliant restrooms. In addition, the space provides
the group with everything they need, not just for the here and now,
but also looking to the future of the Oasis and its membership, in
that it has room for them to grow and accommodate the changing needs
of Logan County seniors.
[By NILA SMITH]