Dexter Senior Center Re-Location Plans Moving Forward

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From Ann Davis, DSC Board

Where will the Dexter Senior Center's new home be? What kind of activities should there be? Does the community want a standalone Senior Center or a Community Center that has activities for all ages including older adults? These are the type of questions asked at Community Listening Sessions in the past month.

Community Listening Sessions were hosted to gather the experiences, perspectives, and preferences of a variety of Dexter residents. Over 50 adults participated in the focus group style listening sessions which were funded by a grant from the 5 Healthy Towns Foundation. These sessions included Dexter Senior Center members, faith-based and community leaders and business and organizational representatives.

The listening sessions revealed that all participants fully support programs and services for older adults in the Dexter area. The Dexter Senior Center members want their own space, including an expanded menu of enrichment activities to reach more members. Other listening session participants identified the need for a community-wide center. What is feasible and desired in the Dexter area, a Senior Center in a new location or a Community Recreation Center with programming for all age groups (seniors, families, young children, young adults, etc.)? Where can it be located and how will it be funded? These questions remain unanswered but will be explored by the Dexter Senior Center Board and other Community Leaders in the months to come.

The Dexter Senior Center is in the former Copeland Building, which was purchased by the Encore Theatre. The size and configuration of the current space limits the types and number of programs and services that can be provided. A new location near downtown Dexter is needed in the next couple of years which will have increased usable space.

Listening session organizers appreciated the time and input from those who shared their ideas. There are many decisions to be made moving forward. One thing we know for sure is that there is strong community support for older adults and a commitment to support healthy and fulfilling aging.

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