A new seniors’ meeting place in the Stettler Recreation Centre could be less than two years away, say seniors and municipal leaders eagerly working together on such a project.
Striving to replace the aging and awkward Stettler and District Senior Citizens Drop-In Centre on 48 Street in an industrial area, seniors offered more ideas last week. They gathered for a social in the Rec Centre’s upper-level conference room — the proposed new seniors’ centre — last Thursday during provincial Seniors’ Week.
“It sounds like we could have enough funding to go ahead with this facility,” said Don Vallet, one of six seniors who toured seniors’ centres in Bashaw, Camrose and Bawlf with elected officials from the Town of Stettler and County of Stettler, along with senior representatives Fred Milner and Terry Crisp.
Local seniors Fern Borgel, Elaine Williams and Marlene Tiegs were on the tour to Rimbey and Wetaskiwin.
“They not only gave good comments and made excellent observations on the tours themselves, but offered valued perspectives in the summary discussion that took place,” said town Coun. Malcolm Fischer, who chairs the committee with representatives from seniors’ groups.
Fischer told the crowd of seniors last week that he’s optimistic that the room could be converted and become the Stettler Seniors’ Recreation Centre in less than two years.
“Once we have plans drafted, we will have more details and estimated costs,” Fischer said.
Other community leaders are optimistic the project can finally come to fruition, after other attempts have failed.
“I haven’t see so much momentum (for a new seniors’ centre) as there is now,” said Mayor Dick Richards.
“This needs to be a facility that people will want to come to.”
While access from a distant parking lot to the upper floor has been expressed as a concern by some seniors, others said those issues could be resolved.
“I think that most seniors are able to access the facility with an elevator,” said Tiegs, though she recommended closer parking.
She said the larger facility would also be ideal for large bridge tournaments that draw up to 100 seniors and smaller rooms are perfect for the quilting group and crafts.
“It expands our opportunities,” said Crisp, who is president of Stettler Senior Social Society, which hosts dances with about 100 people at the Legion.
“I like the idea of all seniors’ groups coming together and anything we can do to improve facilities will help us, too.”
Drop-In Centre society vice-president Len Randall suggested that 20 to 24 spaces in the parking lot be designated for seniors.
In the coming months, the planning committee plans to update seniors on the project’s progress.