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Senior center stays put at the Oddfellows Building

The Montesano Community Center — aka the Senior Center — has renewed its lease at the Oddfellows Building and will increase its hours significantly next year.

“We just signed a year’s lease with the Oddfellows,” said Virginia Nelson, director of the Community Center. While the organization will be paying higher rent, the new lease allows the Community Center to operate “24/7” allowing for more opportunities on nights and weekends. The current lease allows the center to operate for limited hours.

“They raised the rent for everybody in the building because they have issues and they don’t have any money either,” Nelson said of the landlords. “It’s understandable. But now we’ll have the option of being open on weekends and nights, which is good for us.”

Nelson said the center is averaging 40 people a day at its current weekday luncheon service. At $3.50 per meal, that raises some revenue, but not enough to cover costs for the non-profit organization.

“The cost of food is going up,” said Nelson, noting that the fundraising auction the Community Center holds each May is its major source of funding. “Bust we lose money.”

Nelson believes extended hours could help create some new revenue streams for the Marcy Street meeting place.

“Now that we have the opportunity of being open 24/7, we have the ability to try some creative things to augment our income,” said Nelson. “We can go in different directions and we’ll be able to offer some new things. Nothing’s in concrete yet, because we just signed the new lease last week.”

Nelson said the community/senior center has a long-term goal of finding its own home someday, where the organization won’t be beholden to a lease, but a workable location has yet to be found.

Community Center officials had preliminary conversations with City of Montesano officials about its former Public Works building, which was on the market and would have required significant and expensive remodeling, but that parcel has since been sold to a private entity.

“We want to find a home of our own eventually,” said Nelson. “That’s our main goal — to not have a lease. It just haven’t happened yet. But we’ll find one.”