January 8, 2013

Senior center welcomes regulars back home

Charles Oliver

— The Dalton-Whitfield Senior Center reopened on Monday after being closed for more than three months for renovations, and Executive Director Rosie Mosteller wasn’t expecting a huge crowd.

“We really didn’t do anything to advertise it. Just word of mouth. But we had 100 people,” she said. “We usually average 85 to 90 a day, and we thought it would take us a week or so to get back to that.”

But some of the seniors who came out on Monday said they were eager to see how the senior center looked after all the work.

“It’s very refreshing. It’s so bright, and clean. It smells nice, too. I know they worked hard and put a lot of effort into it. We really appreciate that,” said Eileen Pangle.

The renovations cost roughly $150,000 and include new kitchen equipment, flooring, lighting and cabinets, as well as bathroom renovations and new painting for the walls.

The carpet around the reception area wasn’t changed.

“But when they came in, a lot of people asked me if it was new. It just looked different because it’s so bright in here now,” said Mosteller.

During the renovations, the center’s programs were moved to the Mack Gaston Community Center and the John Davis Recreation Center.

“We are glad to be back here. It’s like home,” said Rita Tibbetts.

Mosteller said the center will move its exercise class back to the senior center on Wednesday.

“We should have all of our programs back here by the end of the week,” she said.

The center will hold a formal re-opening and open house on Tuesday, Jan. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m.

“We invite all the public. We are going to have the City Council and the Board of Commissioners,” said Dalton Parks and Recreation Director Steve Card.

The senior center is jointly funded by the city and county but operated by the city recreation department.

“We want the people who have been coming here for years to come by, and we’d like for everyone else to come and see what we have done with the place and learn about all of the events and activities we have here,” said Card.