Seniors that use the Senior Center in Chesterfield say they've been asking for their own space for years, and now they finally feel like they're gaining some traction on a new building.
Right now, the Parks and Recreation Center uses a variety of facilities to host events.
"But with those facilities, it's hard to get some consistency," explained Phil Innis, Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation for Chesterfield County. "Where you have it every day of the week for the programs. Because you might get a few weeks here or a month or even two weeks. Something like that. But then the people who used the building, they have other programs going on. Then we'll use that space and have to go to another space."
The center has a number of popular events, like fitness classes, luncheons, bingo, and dancing. Right now, they're operating out of a church sanctuary- renting the space during the week.
But, it's a small space, and that means spots are limited.
It would be nice to have a dance floor where you can actually move and do the shuffle," said SHiRL Selah.
Some residents expressed concern that fitness classes rarely have openings for new participants. One woman says the class helped her get her health on track and saved her life, preventing her from getting surgery.
"People come in here, they're very depressed, they're lonely, they're battling sickness and things like that," said Thelma Kiesel, a member of the Board who went on to say that fellowship is an important part of Chesterfield's senior community.
It's why seniors say they really need a center of their own, to host all of the activities. That way, they say they can better meet the needs of the senior community.
County recreational leaders say there will be an increasing need for services, because the older population in Chesterfield is expected to increase by 67% by 2025.
Some nay-sayers have question why anyone would consider spending taxpayer dollars on a senior center at a time when county officials are considering a meals tax to pay for schools and public safety.
To which Kiesel says, she has waited for seven years for this and paid a lot of taxes to this county.
"We're taxpaying people, and you know we're still paying for school taxes even though we don't have kids in school anymore."
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