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Connections Area Agency On Aging CEO Kelly Butts-Elston, right, and board member George Gillespie inside the organization’s new location, 231 S. Main St., on Wednesday.

Connections Area Agency on Aging has moved its Council Bluffs offices from the Omni Centre Business Park to 231 S. Main St.

The agency started looking for a smaller, more accessible space after the Managed Care Organizations that administer Iowa’s Medicaid program decided to look elsewhere for case management services for seniors last year, according to Kelly Butts-Elston, CEO.

“They didn’t want to continue contracting with us for case management,” she said. “With that, our staff was reduced by about half … so we were in a space that was way too big for our needs.”

Connections’ Council Bluffs staff was initially reduced from 29 to 15 people, Butts-Elston said, but several employees were added after the agency launched a care transition program to help people making the transition from hospital care or rehabilitation back home. The number based in Council Bluffs now stands at 19, and there’s a little room for growth in the new facility.

“We really appreciate the years we had in the Omni Centre,” she said. “They were great to us.”

The agency, then called Southwest 8 Senior Services, moved into the Omni Centre in 2005 from a former industrial building at 3319 Nebraska Ave. Initially, it was housed in on office suite on the west end of the mall’s second floor. In 2010, it moved to the former Visiting Nurse Association space on the east end of that floor, where it remained until last weekend, when it ended 14 years in the business park.

There are some advantages to the new location, Butts-Elston said.

“We’re much easier to find, and we have a little more accessible entrance,” she said. “We’ve got a ramp for folks in wheelchairs or scooters.”

And while the agency’s space is split between two floors, customers need only use the first floor, she said.

In addition, the agency now has closer proximity to the YMCA Center for Healthy Living and several apartment buildings where many seniors live.

Connections will hold a ribbon cutting and open house from 4 to 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 at its new location. The public is invited.

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