Seniors to christen addition in style with corn, sausage dinner

Published 2:57 pm Wednesday, July 11, 2007

By By TRICIA PETERS / Niles Daily Star
NILES – On Good Friday 2007, the Niles Senior Center began construction of a 50 by 70 foot addition to its existing building.
Just 16 weeks later, on July 28, they will host a corn and sausage dinner fundraiser to christen the new and improved center.
"It's been exciting," said Kathryn Ender, the center's director. "In fact, it's going to be kind of boring once it's finished, because right now every day there is something new."
The new addition will add much needed room to allow for activities such as line dancing and exercise classes. These classes sometimes contain as many as 40 people and the existing space makes for a tight squeeze on such occasions. In addition, there will finally be storage room for the tables and chairs that now are stacked up against the wall of the already-tight activity area.
The center will also go from having one bathroom to four. The extra space and bathrooms will come in handy when the center rents out the building for events such as anniversary parties and showers. Churches and other local organizations often use the center's space as well.
The construction project includes updates to the existing building. Additional offices are being added to allow for more room as well as privacy for seniors needing assistance with taxes and Medicare paperwork. The offices will afford an area for computer use and classes as well as an area for seniors to visit the part-time nurse that will eventually be on-site.
The cost of the renovations total approximately $250,000. Fundraising efforts helped raise over $50,000 during the past several years. However, the center would not have met its goal so quickly if it were not for the generous $150,000 donation from generous Niles citizen, Charles Huizenga.
The center plans to do more fundraising. Their goal is to add an automatic door, refinish the parking lot, buy furnishings for the center and hopefully have some left over to help pay off the mortgage. According to Board President, Marge Durm-Hiatt, any extra help in paying off the mortgage means more money can go towards programming for the seniors.
The list of services and activities the center offers are endless. Activities range from card tournaments and painting classes to Tai Chi and sign language classes. Having experts on hand to answer questions about benefits available to veterans, providing transportation to doctor's appointments, and offering information about topics pertinent to seniors are just a few of the many services the center offers to seniors. The center touches many lives. Currently 2,800 homes in the Niles area are signed up to receive their newsletter. In the first quarter of this year alone, 1,700 people have utilized the center's services.
The corn and sausage dinner celebrating the center's new addition will be held Saturday, July 28 from 3 to 6 p.m. Tickets are $5 in advance or $6 at the door. The dinner is open to the public and monies raised will contribute to the continuing improvement efforts of the center.