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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Mayor Jim Gray, along with members of the Urban County Council and Lexington’s senior adults celebrated the opening of a new senior center, 33 years after Lexington opened its original center for seniors.

“Lexington’s seniors are going to love this place,” Gray said. “It’s 33,000 square feet devoted to their interests, their needs and their priorities. This is a big step forward for our city.”

The new center includes space for fitness, classrooms, music, dancing, cards, billiards, reading, dining and more.

Barb Welsch, Chair of the Seniors Participant Council, said seniors are excited about the new opportunities. “The ability to learn together and grow together and have new experiences together is wonderful,” said Welsch, who has been coming to the Center since she retired in 2010. “We’ve waited a long time for this new center to come, but with all it offers us, it was worth the wait.”

The new Center sits on property the government already owned and used as a park. Now a redeveloped Idlehour Park has facilities for seniors, neighbors and young people including gardens, a playground, a walking trail, pickleball courts, football, baseball and softball fields, and shuffleboard courts.

“When we say now there’s something for everyone in Idlehour Park, we mean it,” Gray said.

Councilmember Bill Farmer, who represents the neighborhoods surrounding the center, said, “We revamped the park to build the building. But we have put back a redeveloped park that offers much more to Idlehour neighbors. Thanks to all of them for their patience.”

The $13 million facility is full of natural light, color, features and furniture reflecting best practices in senior design. John Catlin, the project’s “senior design” consultant, has built 50 senior centers across the country.

There also was a lot of input on the Center from the senior adults and city staff, including Commissioner of Social Services Chris Ford, Director of Aging and Disability Services Kristy Stambaugh, and Center Director Sean Wright.

EOP Architects, Lexington, led by Harding Dowell, designed the building, which also incorporates many energy saving features. It will be LEED certified. General Contractor was Marrillia Design & Construction, also a Lexington company.

Ground-breaking for the new center was in October of 2014. For the remainder of this week, staff will be moving in, setting up their offices and putting on the final touches. It will open for business on Thursday, Sept. 15.

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