Midvale Senior Center Grand OpeningAug 14, 2015 10:01AM ● By Bryan Scott
Midvale Senior Center
By Tori Jorgensen
The new long-awaited Midvale Senior Center will open this month to provide more space and activities to better accommodate seniors around the county.
The grand opening of the Center will be on July 15, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams and Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini at 10 a.m.; however, the new center will be available for use starting on July 6.
Ken Donarski, center manager for the Midvale Senior Center, said part of the Center was erected over the old site of the Midvale chapter of the Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE), an international non-profit organization.
“We got to restore a piece of Midvale history in our building,” he said. “They pulled the sign from the old FOE building and it’s now hanging in the Center.”
Janet Rose, current office specialist at the Center, said obtaining the new building was a process that had been going on since she was first affiliated with the Center four years ago.
“I am mostly excited to have more space,” she said. “We’ve needed it.”
The new center will be 4.5 times larger (18,000 square feet). With only a small area, Rose said, the current senior center is forced to utilize the dining area as a multi-purpose room for almost all activities, including exercise classes, eating and crafts.
Rose says because there will be more space, they can have multiple activities going on at once.
“Now, if you want to start some class or something we haven’t got going, we are open to new things,” she said. “I’m thinking about starting up bridge, as I am just about to retire. I won’t be working at the Center anymore, but I am excited to get to use the Center.”
Donarski said that many people do not understand that a senior center is a place to have fun and socialize.
“The misnomer is that people think that seniors live in the senior center- they don’t,” he said. “This is just a social, exercise, educational and eating facility.”
Donarski said because the seniors travel from their homes to use the Center, the new center will be easier to access for many people. He said he feels that many seniors in the community did not know the facilities existed, or would not travel to it because of its poor location.
“One time this lady, who had been driving to the Center, went looking for an hour to find us,” he said. “She went past this old building a number of times, trying to find it.”
Johnny Gonzales, participant at the Center, said the new location at 7550 South Main Street is much more convenient for him.
“I’m just going to walk right down to it in these sneakers,” he said.
Lee Hickman, another participant, said he is not completely satisfied with the new place. He, along with two busloads of seniors, went to visit the Center in a preview during the month of June.
“I am happy the new center will have more room, but I like a more quiet, relaxed atmosphere, and I think because the new center is in the middle of things, and that more people who aren’t members of the Center will come to the café,” he said. “I would rather there just be members only at the Center.”
Hickman said he thinks the parking lot is too small, as well.
Donarski said he realizes it is going to be uncomfortable for some people to change, but he believes people will love it after they are accustomed to it.
“The café will be a great place to meet new people,” he said. “If you want to come for lattes or breakfast, come on over. It’s not as fancy as Starbucks or Beans and Brews, but it will be pretty close.”
Donarski said another main focus of the Center will be physical fitness. The building includes an exercise room with cardio and weight machines. Fitness classes such as Tai Chi, Zumba, line dancing, EnhanceFitness and yoga will be offered.
“I want to help break the misnomer that we are a place where old people come and live and sit in rocking chairs, because that is by far not what we are promoting in here,” Donarski said.
Other classes and activities being offered at the Midvale Senior Center include quilting, dominos, harmonica, poker, checkers, choir and more. For a full list of activities, visit: slco.org/aging-adult-services/midvale-senior-center/calendar.