MACEDONIA: As of Monday, City Hall’s community room will become the area’s newest senior center.
Mayor Don Kuchta said he decided to give up attempts to get neighboring communities involved in a joint venture and asked his staff to “think out of the box” on a solo effort.
The staff came back with the idea of converting a bottom-floor meeting space at City Hall on Valley View Road.
The firefighters have offered to donate and install a 60-inch television, a second TV will be dedicated to a Wii video gaming system so the seniors can bowl and play tennis, and the room is attached to a full kitchen so meals can be offered.
There are plans to turn a closet into a lending library, add an air hockey table and make tables available for everything from card games to bingo.
The room will be available to all seniors in the Nordonia Hills school district at no cost.
Councilwoman Rita Darrow said she visited a meeting of the local SilverSneakers fitness group and asked them to give her their “wish list” of what kind of programming they want at the new center “so we can make it come true for you.”
The Macedonia Recreation Center is also on board and will participate in some new programs, Darrow said.
Although the goodies have not been purchased, the room has tables and is ready to go and available weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Kuchta said.
The mayor said the idea of a senior center came from local residents who asked for a dedicated space for their activities.
“They wanted a place they could call theirs, that they could do with as they wished,” he said.
Kuchta said the growing demographic of seniors means there are more aging residents trying to find ways to stay active and fight the boredom and depression that comes from sitting at home.
Initially, he sought to get other area communities to contribute toward renovating the old Macedonia City Hall, which the county owns but would be available for a $1 annual lease.
But the building needs a roof and other maintenance — possibly $300,000 or more worth of work. Kuchta suggested seeking donations and volunteers to fix the property, but the other communities rejected the idea, he said.
Alternatively, Sagamore Hills and Northfield Center township trustees have proposed using Epiphany Lutheran Church in Northfield Center, but Macedonia officials didn’t like that idea because it included asking seniors to pay between $1 and $3 each time they used the facility.
Kuchta said the City Hall room now dedicated for seniors will be available to rent for parties and other affairs on the weekends, with the money generated used on the senior center.
“The other good thing about it is the room is ready to use right now,” Kuchta said. The city will provide some custodial services, “but the seniors have promised they will help keep it clean.”