Community Center Showcase—35 Years and Going Strong
Free Fun for All Adults during Active Aging Week—September 24 - 28
Fort Wayne, Ind.—Mayor Tom Henry, Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Director Al Moll, Community Center volunteers, patrons and staff gathered today to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the dedication of the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Community Center. In celebration, and to encourage the intergenerational theme of the Community Center, Active Aging Week for adults 50+ will be expanded this year to include a Community Center Showcase--an extensive sample of free classes, demonstrations, lectures and hands-on activities for adults of all ages to enjoy, September 24 – 28.
“The Community Center is a tremendous asset to our downtown,” said Mayor Henry. “ I encourage residents to visit and enjoy the activities that are planned in celebration of 35 years of great service provided by the Community Center. A special thank you to the staff and volunteers who are committed to making positive experiences for visitors.”
Adults 18 years and older are invited to stop by the Community Center 2:30 – 4:30 pm or 5:30 – 7:30 pm, September 24 – 28, to try out some activities for the first time, such as line dancing, watercolor painting, quilting, belly dancing, clogging, sign language, juggling, pottery, yoga, basket weaving and more. The complete schedule can be found by clicking on the Community Center Showcase brochure on the home page at www.fortwayneparks.org.
“Some people still refer to the Community Center as the Senior Center, although so much more than the name has changed,” said Director Moll. “This venue has become an integral part of the downtown district by offering a variety of opportunities for all ages to stay physically and mentally active.”
In 1947, long before the dedication of the Community Center, some of Fort Wayne’s senior community gathered on the Bloomingdale School property. This group was known as the Bloomingdale Oldsters Club. In 1965, a senior citizen program and theater workshop program was established al Jefferson Center. A site selection committee was formed in 1972, and the suggestion of constructing a new senior center was made.Jefferson Center shut its doors in 1974 and senior programs moved to the Fort Wayne Housing Authority’s senior high rise apartment buildings. In April of 1975, the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission gave their approval for the Senior Citizen Center located at 233 W. Main Street. In June, architectural plans for the Center were revealed by Alan Grinsfelder of Grinsfelder-McArdle Associates, Inc. and the groundbreaking took place in October of that year.
Here are some highlights of the following years:
1977: Senior Citizen Center programming begins
1978: Senior Citizen Center Cookbook “Just Good Cookin’” published
Ye Olde Gift Shoppe opened
First Senior Citizen Talent Show
1979: Senior Citizen Band formed
First Senior Games
1980: Alley Kat Tap Dance Group began
Prime of Life Players first offering of “Tea for Three”
1981: “Let Happiness Ring” began--free long distance phone calls for seniors to connect with family and friends during holidays
1984: Fort Wayne-Allen County Senior Citizen Center, Inc. established
1988: First Senior Prom
Foster Grandparent Program became tenants
1989: Barbara Bush visited the Center
1992: Facility renamed The Community Center and programming for
all ages introduced
1997: Community Center Task Force established
2002: First Annual Senior Information Fair
2003: C.A.P.S. program introduced--emergency cell phones for seniors
2006: First Fort Wayne Parks Amazing Race
2009: Pickleball officially introduced at the Community Center
First Santa’s Workshop in conjunction with the “Night of Lights”
2010: First Children’s Book Swap and Sale
2011: First Winter Carnival
First Intergenerational Wii Tournament
First Halloween Haunt
The annual Active Aging Week events for adults 50+ will start with a kick-off breakfast at 8:30 am Monday, September 24. Pickleball and Cornhole tournaments will begin on Tuesday. A Table Tennis Tournament and Canoe Trip are scheduled for Wednesday, with miniature golf on Thursday and Karaoke on Friday. Please click on the Active Aging Week brochure at www.fortwayneparks.org for a complete list of activities.
Active Aging Week is the annual health promotion event organized by The International Council on Active Aging and promotes the benefits of a healthy lifestyle by giving older adults the opportunity to experience activities and exercise in a safe, friendly and fun atmosphere.
For more information regarding the free activities offered September 24 – 28, please call the Community Center at 427-6460or download the Active Aging Week brochure at www.fortwayneparks.org.