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July 12, 2014

Calling all Sellersburg seniors

Senior Center welcomes visitors this week with open house

SELLERSBURG — Patti Hall said inspiration struck in the form of a “little lady in Salem.”

“She was just a really good friend. She had no children. And we got really close,” said Hall, a semi-retired Sellersburg resident. “And she enjoyed their senior center so much, and I thought, ‘How nice it would be for Sellersburg to have something like that.’”

A year later, Hall and Celia Winters — “partners in crime,” as Winters puts it — have made that idea a reality.

The Sellersburg Senior Center, 325 N. Indiana Avenue, is having an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 13. There will be snacks available, and Winters said she hopes people come with some ideas for activities. Already planned for the center is dominoes, bingo and card games.

“We’re going to take suggestions,” she said. “Would they like a craft show, would they like painting? We need input of what they would like to do.”

The open house marks the beginning of the center’s first week. Regular hours will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

Some funding has been provided by Silver Creek Township Trustee Billy Ramser, who is paying the 750-square-foot building’s first year of rent and liability insurance. The Sellersburg Town Council committed to paying a not-to-exceed amount of $2,500 for the building’s utilities.

“We’re just opening on a wing and a prayer,” Winters, secretary-treasurer of the center, said. “We have no funds except out of our own pocket, except for these people.”

The women said the center will fulfill a need for many seniors who don’t have structured activities in their lives.

“A lot of it is just having something to do — like, ‘OK, Tuesday’s my day I go to Senior [Center],’” Hall, president of the center, said.

It also gives seniors an opportunity to socialize with their peers.

“It may not be a lot, but to them, the getting together with other people is all they need,” she said. “And they look forward to that.”

They’ve discovered the need for a senior center in Sellersburg largely through word of mouth.

“I ran into a lady the other day and she said since her husband died, she said, ‘I just need to get out more,’” Winters said. “So she’s very interested in coming.”

Town Council member Brian Meyer used to host a Senior Safe Walk every Thursday, where seniors would gather at the old Nolan Fieldhouse before it closed. He said the event would bring together 30 or 40 seniors every week that would become “social hour.”

“We haven’t had anything since then, and there’s really nothing in the Sellersburg area for seniors to do that,” Meyer said. “The opportunity for seniors to get out and do something in a safe setting and the opportunity to get out with other seniors is limited.”

Although the new Sellersburg Senior Center is small now, Winters and Hall said they may expand down the road if the demand is high enough.

Meyer said he hopes that Sellersburg can make it work.

“Hopefully, it’ll continue growing and branch out to make it more beneficial to not only seniors but to the town,” he said.

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