Sunday, February 11, 2001

More than shuffleboard

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BLUE ASH — Come June, thousands of senior citizens will be visiting new digs each month for meals, fitness sessions, art classes, billiards, gin rummy and friendship.

        The $3.7 million new home of the Sycamore Senior Center is under roof. After interior work is completed next month, the moving vans begin arriving in April.

[photo] Dutch Mulholland, of ICB Audio and Visual Equipment, works on a speaker housing Monday at the new Sycamore Senior Center.
(Michael Snyder photo)
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        The 17,330-square-foot center at Carver Road and Carver Woods Drive, just west of Reed Hartman Highway, will replace the existing center in the former Plainfield School building, said Jan Venn, development director and publicity coordinator for the Senior Center Division of Southwestern Ohio Senior Services Inc.

        The center, which serves more than 5,000 older adults monthly, has grown by 600 percent in the number of people it serves in the past 10 years. About 300 meals on wheels are catered through the center weekly.

        “The new center will include an aerobics and fitness center with treadmills and bikes, a computer lab with (new) upgraded computers, an art studio with a kiln for pottery and ceramics, an office wing with a conference room ... we've never had before,” Ms. Venn said.

        A walking trail through woods bordering the new center also is being planned.

        A second development phase calls for expansion of the building toward Reed Hartman Highway. It will include a bank, and retail shopping area focusing on senior needs.

        A fund dive has generated all but $35,000 of the construction cost and the center is still seeking donations of fitness equipment, Ms. Venn said.

        Funding was generated largely through grants and donations.

        Blue Ash City Manager Marvin Thompson said the existing senior center — owned by the city and leased for $1 a year — is being sold to nearby Raymond Walters College of the University of Cincinnati for about $275,000. The old center will be renovated and transformed into classrooms and offices for the college.

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