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Seniors have enjoyed new center a month after recent opening

VALLEY — The new Valley Senior Center opened one month ago today. Seniors who have been going there five days a week since May 9 rave about how nice it is, that there’s so much room inside and that it’s such a joy to be there.

“I just love this building,” said Mary Heard, who at 95 is the eldest member of the Center. “It is so nice, and I appreciate being able to come here every day.”

Mrs. Heard and her husband, the late Napoleon Heard, retired from Langdale Mill in 1985 and became active in the city’s senior center program.

Zilliah Kendrick, who’s been active with the center since 2002, said that the place is spectacular.

“We all like it so very much,” she said. “It’s beautiful. There’s so much more room here than in the previous center and more for us to do. I just love being here.”

Bill Guthrie added, “Hopefully it will encourage people to use what we have at the Community Center. It’s so convenient to go from here to the fitness room and to the walking track.”

There’s a cornhole course set up inside the Donald Williams Activity Room, and seniors love testing their skill at tossing the bean bag toward the target.

“We’re looking at setting up a ping pong table in this room and possibly a pool table,” Senior Center Ron Fancher said.

Adjacent to the Activity Room is a computer room and a game room. There’s plenty of space for seniors to play cards and to put together jigsaw puzzles. There’s some flatscreen TVs to watch and lots of conversation and laughter taking place. Wii bowling may be taking place in the near future in this area.

“We have gotten an amazing response from the community,” Fancher said. “We’ve had people coming by to tour the building. We’ve gotten three new members that way, and we have 12 more applications from people who want to join.”

Valley Senior Center is presently serving 38 meals every day, Monday through Friday, in its congregate program.

“We are set up to take as many as 48 people right now,” Fancher said. “We have the chairs to have 54 at one time.”

The center is delivering 95 meals every day in its home-bound program. Three buses deliver those meals to seniors who live all over Valley.

Fancher said he’d like to expand the hours in the afternoons so that the seniors could participate in SilverSneakers sessions that are taking place next door in the Community Center.