Belpre Senior Center showing growth

BELPRE – After several years of planning and funding, the Belpre Senior Center expansion will open Wednesday.

The public dedication of the 1,500-square-foot expansion will be held at 1 p.m. at the center on Washington Boulevard, next to Howes Grove Park, according to center director Susie Casto.

“We will hold a luncheon to honor volunteers and donors before the public dedication,” Casto said. “We wanted to do something to thank those who made this expansion possible.”

The open house will continue through 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The expansion has been in the works for more than five years to give the area senior citizens who use the facility the room needed to participate in activities and functions offered by the Belpre Senior Center, said Mayor Mike Lorentz.

Belpre has looked into building an expansion into the park for at least five years, as the number of people using the center has grown and the need for more space has become evident, Lorentz added.

Belpre has the highest percentage of its population ages 60 and older in all of Washington County, which accounts for the growing number of those taking advantage of the center and its programs.

“With that population, we can’t expand the senior center or the services we provide fast enough,” Casto said.

The expansion includes large restrooms for both men and women as well as a large, open space that will be used mostly as an activities center.

“This new room will house the pool table, chair volleyball, Tai Chi and low impact aerobic,” Casto added. “Also, there will be meetings and events held here since it will be available to be rented out to organizations and members of the community.”

Costs of the roughly $130,000 expansion are being paid for with funds from the city, Washington County Senior Levy, the Belpre Community Foundation, the McDonough Foundation, the Marietta Community Foundation and the Belpre Senior Club. These funds only cover the cost of building the structure, not completing or furnishing the interior, which will be covered by the senior center’s club.