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Elma Senior Center almost good as new

In a state of disrepair for some years now, the Elma Senior Center is finally getting a much-needed face lift. There’s already a new ceiling in the Senior Center’s lunch room, a new lighted sign outside, refurbished bathrooms and a new dish-washing station in the much-used kitchen. Coming soon is a brand-new stove on which to prepare the hundreds of low-cost meals the center dishes up each week and other kitchen equipment.

A new tile floor was installed in the kitchen this week.

The Elma Senior Center was established in the 1970s and was housed in the downtown business core until the late 1980s when the city of Elma secured grant funding to purchase and remodel the existing facility.

The center serves lunch, Monday through Friday. The center also provides “meals on wheels” daily to those unable to make it to the facility for lunch.

The center provides a variety of activities and events for area senior citizens and receives its funding from the Coastal Community Action Program and local fundraising efforts. There’s even a new activities director — Linda Pickering — hired to work 40 hours per month to help coordinate outings and such. The building is owned by the city of Elma, so Mayor Dave Osgood thought it was a civic duty to get it up to snuff.

“It needed a face lift,” said Osgood. “Nothing (new) had been put in this building for 30 years. The city had to step in. It’s our building and we have to make sure it’s up to standards.”

Osgood said the improvements have also made the senior center in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Osgood said over the past few years, the city has invested about $11,000 in the various projects, but has reaped many rewards from that, thanks to some in-kind donations of labor and supplies along with low-cost work done by inmates from the Cedar Creek Correctional Center, located near Rochester.

“Thanks to all the volunteers,” Osgood told a recent gathering at the senior center. “Without all the volunteers, we couldn’t function. We’ve been real fortunate to have people come in here and help us out.”

Osgood said the Cedar Creek inmates did much of the heavy lifting, including replacing worn-out floors with new tile. He said working toward a good cause and a worthwhile project was also good therapy for the inmates.

“They made an impact on our lives and we made an impact on theirs also,” Osgood said.

Osgood said he believes the changes will help set the Senior Center in a new and more positive direction.

“Hopefully, this will be something of a new beginning and hopefully it will continue to grow and flourish,” Osgood said of the Senior Center, which is located just a block from City Hall.