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Jonesborough Senior Center opens up to eager and active crowd of members - VIDEO/PHOTOS

Tony Casey • Updated Dec 7, 2015 at 8:41 PM

There’s no lack of seats at the new Jonesborough Senior Center, but with the energy felt there, active programs offered and with an unofficial proclamation from the town’s mayor, butts aren’t going to stay in those seats for very long.

“There’s not going to be a lot of sitting around in this building,” Mayor Kelly Wolfe said during the center’s celebratory opening that took place Monday morning. 

With the construction of the building nearly complete, the facility opened with a catered ribbon cutting and flag dedication. Wolfe emceed the event, saying he was giving as much time to the stories of the center’s initial 1,100 members rather than the dignitaries and local politicians, like himself, who helped get the building open.

After sharing the stories of some of the specific seniors who would be enjoying the new building, he moved onto those who literally weathered the construction and progress delays to see the project open.

Wolfe especially thanked Mary Sanger, the center’s director, and her staff for getting the center’s offerings and programs together.

“Let’s give them a huge round of applause for the Jonesborough Senior Center staff,” the mayor said. “They’re the ones who make the rubber hit the road.”

Sanger echoed what Jonesborough’s mayor had said about an active mindset at the the new center, specifically focusing on field trips, group activities and exercise programs that better a person’s chances of living a longer, healthier life, all while delaying full-time care. She said seniors will be taking full advantage of the upgrade made possible by the new facility.

“There’s so much more space now,” Sanger said. “My whole team will be busy with this wellness-centered clinic.”

An on-site clinic will have both medical volunteers to aid with members’ questions and concerns, as well as getting them any medical information they might need.

Hazel Marie is one the members taking advantage of the new center. The field trips — especially those that taken members to Dollywood, Savannah, Georgia, and on cruises — get Marie excited for what’s to come. She’s looking forward to making new friends and doing one of her favorite activities — people-watching. Marie expects the center’s square dance classes to be prime opportunity for that.

Another program she’s looking forward to will be the computer classes offered. Marie admits she’s not as savvy on her computer as she is with her smartphone, but expects that to change.

“I don’t know how to turn one on,” she joked.

Marie and her fellow members get monthly newsletters giving them updates on what’s coming next. With all the exciting stuff coming through the new senior center, she always looks forward to getting the next one.

Wolfe honored the work of three individuals key to opening the building, specifically the town’s Operations Manager Craig Ford, Building Inspector J.W. Greene and Town Administrator Bob Browning, who endured setbacks along the way to seeing the new facility open.

Following the celebration, the seniors joined administrators for a flag dedication and ribbon cutting.

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