News

Senior center still under construction

The foundation of the Martin Luther King Older Adult Center, has been laid, and the center is scheduled to be completed by the end of February. Construction began in June.

The current adult center opened in 1971 and has been in use since that time. The community

built its membership through direct contact including church visits, flyers and other advertising methods.

Today approximately 20 to 25 seniors join the center each month.The new center, separate from the old building, will consist of old and new members.

The new Martin Luther King Jr. Older Adult Center is currently in construction on the corner of Cecil B. Moore avenue and 21st street and is expected to be completed in February of 2017. | MONTANA BASSETT FOR THE TEMPLE NEWS

The new Martin Luther King Jr. Older Adult Center is currently in construction on the corner of Cecil B. Moore avenue and 21st street and is expected to be completed in February of 2017. | MONTANA BASSETT FOR THE TEMPLE NEWS

Barbara Gillette, the director of older adult services for the center, said she and other members of the community are grateful and excited for the new building.

“They’ve been waiting a long time for this and are happy to see their dream finally come into fruition,” Gillette said.

The center, which will be located at 21st Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, will be open to people ages 55 and older and will provide members with social services, exercise and learning programs, Gillette said.

“We offer supportive counseling for our members, we offer support with helping them fill out their paperwork for public assistance,” Gillette said.

Others said they appreciate the educational benefits that will come from the center.

“I like to take time to learn about computers and study the scriptures, whether it be Islam or Christianity,” said Kenneth Sanders, 60, a new member of the center.

Gillette said she plans to increase evening programming on-site at the center to increase the community’s opportunities to get involved with the center. These programs include fitness classes, games and intergenerational activities.

“Older adults are active, vibrant and they’re still alive,” Gillette said. “Those are the types of things that we want to make sure that we capture when we move into our new building by having different programs.”

Gillette said space limitations and building dilapidation are the motivators behind the construction of the new building.

“We need a new center because we have been here a long time,” said Jannette Robinson, 72, who has been a member of the center for seven years. “We need more space. That way we will be more comfortable.”

Haley Proctor can be reached at haley.proctor@temple.edu.

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