Seniors, bring your input Friday

Planners interested in ideas about community center

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Hayden seniors should bring their imaginations at noon Friday at The Haven Assisted Living Center to let planners know how they would like to use a new community center.

The Visiting Nurse Association purchased the assisted living center in November and is planning to start construction of the new community center this year. The community center will be connected to the Haven. The VNA hopes to merge input from local seniors and the VNA's Aging Well program in designing the center.

"The basis for it is if we get seniors engaged in things, they are generally more happy, and it creates a happier outlook," said Dace Kramer, Aging Well coordinator for the VNA.

The VNA has begun surveying seniors, and some of the possibilities for the center include walking paths, a greenhouse gardening area and flexible indoor space that could be used for family reunions, town meetings and exercise.

"Exercise and fitness from Tai Chi to chair exercises to everything in between," Kramer said.

The VNA also hopes to have space available for hobbyists looking for room to quilt or a place to put together a jigsaw.

"The community center is going to be focused on the needs and services that seniors in the Hayden area are looking for, Kramer said.

The space could host some Aging Well education programs, including classes on nutrition, fitness, bird watching and traveling.

The center is not just for seniors, Kramer said.

"The interaction of different generations is important to everyone and the community's health," she said.

Planners already have met with The Haven residents. Friday's informational meeting is for seniors only. Seniors should call The Haven at 276-3525 if they want the free lunch. For transportation, call Dace Kramer at 871-7633. The lunch is at noon, or seniors can just attend the meeting at 1 p.m.

Fundraising has raised about 60 percent of the money that will be needed to construct the community center. The facility cost depends on feedback from the community and what type of space and services they want. Kramer said the center could cost about $1 million.

Major contributions have come from the Department of Local Affairs Energy and Mineral Impact program and state foundations.

The community center has been declared a Rural Enterprise Zone Project, meaning project donors will be eligible for a state tax credit equaling 25 percent of the donation.

For information about making a donation, call the VNA at 879-1632.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 871-4210 or e-mail mstensland@steamboatpilot.com.

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