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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Group holds first meeting about a 'Senior Center'

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Informal planning meeting left to right, Cherokee mayor Pam Pierce, Chamber of Commerce Director Julie Hering-Kent, and former Council member Dwight Varce were among those attending the Jan. 15th informal meeting about establishing a Senior Center at the Cherokee Community Center. Photo by Dan Whitney.
When Morgan Graverholt recently moved to Cherokee from Seattle, Wash., one of the drawing cards that brought her to Cherokee was the Senior Center, as she had been very involved with a Senior Center in Seattle. When she arrived here, however, Morgan was disappointed to find that there is no "Senior Center" in Cherokee.

Many communities have such centers - a place where "seasoned citizens" can go to enjoy each other's company, participate in activities, or perhaps get some education about subjects which interest them.

Morgan spoke to Mayor Pam Pierce and Cherokee Recreation Director Dave Ellis about her concern over a lack of such a facility in Cherokee and they both agreed that it would be a good idea to seek input from local community members.

Utilizing space - Parks and Rec Director Dave Ellis led a brief tour of the Community Center for those who attended the Jan. 15th meeting. Here Ellis (back) shows the group around the lower level. Photo by Dan Whitney.
An informal meeting was scheduled and about 10 people showed up on Jan. 15th in below zero temperatures. Ellis began the meeting by taking the group on a tour of the Community Center. Both he and Mayor Pierce feel strongly that the building belongs to the community, and is being woefully under-used by community members. A considerable amount of money was recently spent on the outside and parking areas of the building, but everyone in the meeting thought that some updating of the interior would make the rooms more inviting and attractive, encouraging seniors and other community members to make more use of "their" building.

New paint on the walls, new window treatments and different flooring were some of the suggestions of group members. Ellis and Linda Burkhart, Sanford Museum Director, told the group of the plan to place some of the photographs by area photographers, which are currently on display at the museum, in the Community Center. Burkhart is hoping that other area artists will be willing to display their work at the Community Center also.

Some of the other ideas tossed around at the informal meeting included getting a pool and/or ping-pong table for the Center; forming a Book Club; playing cards; getting lessons on basic computer/internet use, carpentry, or any other subjects in which people are interested; quilting or knitting groups; dances; and outside speakers.

It was decided that a good way to get things started would be to have a potluck meal, probably at lunchtime. Information would be available at the lunch, and there would be plenty of time for everyone to discuss any plans for the use of the building. The group consensus was that it would be very important to have any activities scheduled at a regular, consistent time and day of the week, and also to be sure that there would be coffee available at any activity.

Another informal meeting will be held at the Community Center on Wednesday, January 28 at 10 a.m., when hopefully the weather will be warmer and more people will attend. One of the items on the agenda on that date will be setting up the Potluck event.

All in attendance stressed that it is very important that as many members of the community as possible who are interested provide their input before any final decisions are made about establishing a meeting area, programs, and schedule for the proposed Senior Center.

By the way, if someone at one of the meetings has an idea for a name other than "Senior Center." those suggestions are welcome, too.

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