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Senior center operations move to new location

January 23, 2019

In a lot of ways moving the senior center in Hastings into the city of Hastings’ Community Center was not unlike any other move from one place to another.

Decades worth of property was sorted, packed and transported to the intended destination. Conversations then ensued about the best location to place everything.

That was the case Monday as Midland Area Agency on Aging executive director Casey Muzic and Adams County senior center site director Rachel Devlin guided a crew from Thiel Family Moving and Transport of Hastings where to put everything.

MAAA recently reached an agreement with the city of Hastings to rent two rooms in the Hastings Community Center at 2015 W. Third St. The building is also the home for the Hastings Parks and Recreation office as well as the former National Guard Armory.

Senior center operations moved from the Golden Friendship Center at 509 S. Bellevue Ave., where they have been for decades.

Muzic said the plan is to call the new senior center the Golden Friendship Center, as well.

While there were the shelves and boxes common with any move, there were also senior center-specific items such as a pool table, shuffle board, upright popcorn maker and bingo machine.

Devlin and Muzic also discussed where best to place an elaborate plug-in street light and a donated bench that Devlin called a “staple piece.”

MAAA took over operation of the senior center from Adams County Senior Services in July 2018 after a change in funding for ACSS made it unsustainable for the organization to continue running the senior center.

Muzic said the city, especially Park and Recreation Director Jeff Hassenstab, has been flexible working with MAAA on the move.

“Jeff has been very good just letting us use the space as we needed,” she said.

Muzic estimated monthly costs for the former senior center were about $2,700, about a third of which is for utilities. MAAA will not pay utilities with the Community Center contract.

For $500 per month, Adams County seniors are getting two side rooms — one space for the meal program with kitchen area, which Muzic said is bigger than the meal space at the former Golden Friendship Center, and the other for a small office for Devlin that will also serve as a library and computer area with a place for exercise equipment, pool table and shuffle board.

It is the same space that was once used by The Zone after school program that now takes place at the YWCA of Adams County.

“I’m excited,” Devlin said. “I think it’ll be great. I’m not in my office very often, and if I am it’s at the end of the day. It’ll be nice to be able to be a part of the exercise people because at the old place they were all the way on the other end of the building. So I didn’t get to see a lot of who came in for exercise.”

The plan was to hold the first congregate noon meal at the new home on Tuesday.

One of the primary complaints by local seniors about the new senior center is the crushed rock parking lot.

While officials have admitted that the parking lot situation is not ideal and could make transportation for older seniors difficult, Devlin said the crushed rock could be an attribute in the event of icy weather. The ground is not as slick as a concrete parking lot would be.

Devlin started in July and became director in September. Golden Friendship Center site council members and other volunteers have been instrumental helping her figure out what was needed and prepare for the move.

“All of our volunteers are amazing,” she said. “I would not be able to do as much without them. Every afternoon someone’s been there to help go through things, sort, pack, tape.”

In the process of the move she found coffee pots labeled from 1985.

“It’s packing up a lot of things and figuring out what we can bring,” Muzic said.

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