The Gothenburg Senior Center first opened its doors to Dawson County residents in 1983. What transpired since then were many successful years of providing a central meeting place, Meals on Wheels, medical equipment, and other key services for seniors and the community as a whole. However, the years really took its toll on the physical structure and space, particularly in relation to its growing popularity and increasing elderly population. “The kitchen was outdated and inconvenient, appliances were small and no longer reliable, and storage space almost non-existent,” said Connie Dalrymple, city clerk.
The front entryway was only big enough to accommodate one table for taking tickets, greeting guests, or answering the phone. In addition, minimal storage space meant that pool tables and other equipment had to be stored in the dining room. The office desperately needed a makeover and seniors needed more room to complete quilting and craft projects. Lighting in certain areas was insufficient at best.
Gothenburg Senior Center Director Angie Barkmeier and members of the Senior Center Board then learned that the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program could possibly provide financial help for extensive Center renovations. City of Gothenburg officials applied for and received a $215,011 CDBG in the Public Works category. Adding $88,032 in matching funds, Gothenburg enlisted all ages of volunteers including seniors, to undertake the renovations. Thanks to the tremendous volunteer support and fundraisers that included pool tournaments, pizza sales, and knitted items, renovation were completed $3,000 under budget. The center even remained open during the six-month renovations, serving its guests for all but a single week when kitchen flooring needed to be installed.
Today more seniors than ever before are enjoying the new and improved Senior Center. A new game room provides ample space for the pool table and equipment, and a more noticeably fun, interactive environment. Traffic flow is no longer a problem due to additional storage and office space, and the center now more easily accommodates larger events. Plans are still being formulated for other ways that the facility can be used by the community. Creative writing classes, computer classes, and insurance counseling are just a few new activities that have been recently held at the senior center.
The Gothenburg Senior Center is now a hub of activity for senior citizens and the community as a whole. Seniors can comfortably rely on the center to provide vital services including meals, health care, and social activities which ultimately help them live happier, more independent lives.