Vienna Senior Center celebrates grand opening

VIENNA – Through a Community Development Block Grant, the city of Vienna and senior citizens, the city now holds the golden key to opening a successful senior center.

To make the second floor of the Vienna Senior Center compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, work was done to widen the doorways and revamp the bathrooms. Repairs to complete the project, done by 3D Construction, cost $270,000.

The official grand opening for the center was Friday afternoon in a crowded room of eager senior citizens and city officials involved in the renovations. The building at 706 29th St. was originally designed to be a union hall, said Mayor Randy Rapp.

Councilman Bruce Rogers, who assisted with the renovations, spoke before the crowd, many of whom he considered his “brothers and sisters.”

Rogers said he asked the city for $10,000 to fund the project and promised to pay it back. Delegate Bill Anderson, R-Wood, helped the Wood County Senior Center with funding through Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s Office, Rogers said. Officials allocated money to Vienna and Williamstown senior centers.

“When we first started one of our members here came up to me,” Rogers said Friday. “She threw her arms around me and said ‘we finally have a home,’ we all feel like brothers and sisters.”

Rapp said the project on the center began about five years ago and seemed unattainable.

“The project was so expensive we had to stretch it out over a period of years,” Rapp said. “Through the generosity of the McDonough Foundation and working with the city we were able to do the renovations.”

Bob Stephens with the McDonough Foundation was in attendance Friday.

The city and Wood County grant coordinator, Toni Tiano assisted in allocating grant money, Rapp said. City clerk Carla Starcher worked with Tiano and city council to finish the project, Rapp said.

“We didn’t have plans when we started,” Rapp said. “The facility and the way it opened up upstairs; it’s a great asset to our town.”

President of the senior center Ida Mae Blair said they couldn’t have done everything without the efforts of past president Norine Davis, city officials and many volunteers.

Mary Leach, a member of the center, said copies of her paintings hang in the building. She hopes the new accommodations can bring more seniors to paint and create works of art.

Leach said the second floor has a pool table, exercise equipment, a computer room, quilting and painting areas.

Blair said it was exciting to see everything come together on the center project. Although the city has had a senior center for many years, the new facility offers games and hobbies for seniors.

“It’s a wonderful place,” Blair said of the new center. “Everybody gets along good together.”

The center is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more information visit www.vienna-wv.com.