Mower County Senior Center will be state-of-the-art

Published 9:17 am Thursday, July 30, 2009

It’s a place to go for lunch, a place to play 500 or duplicate bridge and a place just to come and talk to friends.

The Mower County Senior Center, which spans 15,000 square feet, opened in 1991 and kicked off a capital fundraising campaign July 27 to raise $100,000 for upgrades and remodeling.

Items on the renovations list include updating lobby walls and flooring; relocating the advocacy/Chore offices, which provide services such as helping seniors with odd jobs or provide information on renters rebates or legal advice; refurbishing the executive and transportation offices; upgrading handicap restrooms; new flooring in the dining hall; creating additional recreation space for active seniors; and creating a Cyber Cafe with computers and the use of wireless Internet to replace the Used a Bit store.

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The renovation project, which will cost $237,000, has been given a head start thanks to $92,000 from The Hormel Foundation and $45,000 from the City of Austin.

Senior center officials hope to raise the remaining $100,000 by Aug. 30. If the goal is not reached, center officials said they will determine which ones to do first and which ones to postpone.

“They are very much needed for 18 years and not being touched,” said Brent Johnson, senior center assistant director, of the upgrades and remodeling. “With the hundreds of people who come in every day, I’m surprised we still have anything that’s up.”

The senior center has roughly 1,000 members, with membership costs at $24 per year.

Johnson said the facility is very important to Mower County.

“Everyday I come in, I see smiling seniors like I do right now,” he said. “And they are so happy to have a place to come to.”

The project fundraiser kick off comes the same week Arc of Mower County officials held their official groundbreaking ceremony for a new facility, which they did Monday.

The Arc building will measure 4,600 square feet, with access to the senior center and was made possible with funds from The Hormel Foundation. Arc is both a state and national organization that works as an advocate for people with developmental disabilities and their families. For larger events, Arc will still rent space from the senior center. For more information on the Mower County Senior Center or its capital campaign, call (507) 433-2370 or mail to Mower County Seniors Inc., 400 Third Ave. NE, Austin, MN 55912.