10/30/12 — Senior Center opens its doors to residents

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Senior Center opens its doors to residents

By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 30, 2012 1:46 PM

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Mary Hardy, 65, cheers while talking with Christi McDonald, 68, during the first lunch at the new Senior Center in Goldsboro. Ms. Hardy said, "I love it, it's so beautiful." Ms. McDonald added, "It's like getting into heaven without having to die." The center is having a soft opening this week.

Mary Hardy, 65, was ready to dance Monday to express her joy over Wayne County's new Senior Center on Ash Street.

"It is a beautiful place, and we are so happy to get in here," Ms. Hardy said. "I mean if it wasn't wrong, we'd probably dance a jig. But we are happy to be here, seriously. It is wonderful."

Ms. Hardy, who was a regular at the old center on John Street for just over a year and a half, didn't really dance a jig. Instead, she settled for helping teach a beginner's line dancing class.

In other parts of the new facility, people were checking out the computer lab or taking advantage of a large and well-equipped exercise room. Services on Aging Director Eryn McAuliffe was giving another senior resident a tour of the new facility.

The old downtown center at the corner of John and Walnut streets closed Friday, and the new center at 2001 E. Ash St., named in honor of Peggy M. Seegars, a longtime advocate for the elderly, opened for the first time Monday.

The new center will offer extended hours and will be open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. On Wednesday, it will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.

It was the first time that Ms. Hardy had been inside the new center, and her reaction was typical. People she talked to are "loving it," she said.

"I love it," she said. "It is wonderful. Downtown was so much smaller. Moving up here we have so much more room to move around, and to do things. There are more bathrooms. It is much more exciting, and we are so happy to be in here.

"We have to kind of find our way around, but once we find our way around, it is neat. Downtown, it was very small, and kind of cramped. Here we have a lot more space."

Ms. Hardy said she didn't think she would ever see such a facility.

"They fought for a long time, Mrs. Seegars and Eryn and all," she said. "They fought for us to have this, and we are so grateful and so thankful."

Her message to the county was, "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."

"Elizabeth Dawson said she had visited the new center earlier, but still got emotional when she came in Monday morning.

"Wow," she said. "I was just like, 'You could breathe.' There is so much room in here, and so many things that you can do here. You are not crowded. That makes you to be able to do more. The seniors will be able to communicate better.

"As far as respite, where I volunteer, they have people who have dementia or Alzheimer's. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves today. It was just like a new beginning. Everybody was happy. They were excited and so were we."

Local seniors have been looking forward to the new center for years, she said.

"It is just a great thing to have this place," she said. "There is so much room you can get lost in here, if you are not sharp. You can. There is a place where you can do almost anything that you would like to do. There is something for everything.

"My favorite part is having a larger space for the seniors, and we have so much more parking. We didn't have any parking downtown. You can park most any place here now. You might have to walk a little ways, but that is good exercise for us."