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Addition gives seniors more room for crafts and exercise

After a year of waiting, seniors at the Thomson-McDuffie Senior Center have room to really get moving. The senior center recently held a ribbon cutting for the new addition on the back of the facility. Half of the addition is filled with exercise equipment and space for exercising, and the other half will be used as an adult daycare center.

"They really did a nice job when they added on to this place," Nathaniel Tyus said as he exercised his shoulders on the Twister machine.

The room is well-stocked with quite a few pieces of cardio exercise equipment, plus a rack of light-weight barbells and space and mats for exercising.

And their fingers will be more nimble, too. The addition allowed the senior center room to expand their craft rooms in the older part of the building, creating more space for ceramics, jewelry-making, sewing, crocheting and knitting.

The seniors sell their finished products in a small store at the Greenway Street side of the building.

"We're trying to let the public know we're back," said Martha Harrell, ceramic instructor. "We're holding a half-price sale the first Friday of every month."

The new addition was funded by a $329,000 stimulus State Community Development Block Grant received in mid-August of 2009. The older building was remodeled and updated, too, with new floors, new windows, larger rooms and handicap-accessible restrooms.

"I think it's the nicest senior center anywhere around here in the area, without a doubt," said Bob Howard, the director of the Thomson-McDuffie Recreation Leisure Services. "It was well-overdue for those seniors. They needed a nice place."

Even though the new building was added on the back of the facility, Mr. Howard said they were able to keep the courtyard where many seniors have enjoyed sitting in rocking chairs in the shade and playing checkers. The new addition is between the courtyard and the parking lot.

Along with the extra space come expanded services to what the Senior Center already offers. An Adult Daycare service, contracted through Claire Russell, is slated to go in the rest of the new building. The daycare will be staffed with full-time nurses that could benefit the seniors who already attend the center, too.

The Thomson-McDuffie Senior Center currently has approximately 200 members, with 50-60 there every day. Weekly activities include ceramics, crafts, art, computer and exercise classes, workshops, line dancing, choir, Bingo and Wii bowling. The center also has game tables for recreation anytime.

The Senior Center is located on Greenway Street in Thomson. For more information, call 706-595-7502.

Web posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

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