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Senior Citizen Center at home in Fisher Community Center

Open house slated for Oct. 18

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY Marshalltown Senior Citizens Center Director April Long poses by sign announcing center hours. Long assumed duties in January and oversaw center’s move from its temporary location at Nicholas Center to Fisher Community Center, 709 S. Center St.

It was shortly after 10 a.m. one recent morning, and sunshine was flooding the main room of Marshalltown’s Senior Citizens Center where director April Long pointed out colorful quilts and other products made by the Sew and Sews team.

Ample sunshine and being housed in one of Marshalltown’s most accessible buildings with plenty of free parking and on a city bus route is a thrill for Long.

From computers to quilting to shuffleboard, Long and others are excited about the Senior Center in the Fisher Community Center, 709 S. Center St.

The doors opened June 3, and Long is eager and excited to promote the facility with an open house, 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Oct. 18.

Food and fun go hand in glove, and Long said the Marshall County Pork Producers will grill pork burgers with chips and water, all for $5.

T-R FILE PHOTO Larry Forbes (left) of Le Grand sends a shot down a shuffleboard court in a game against Jim Thrasher of Pleasant Hill while Jim’s wife Connie looks on at the Marshalltown Senior Citizens Center in the Fisher Community Center. Shuffleboard is one of several activities offered at the MSCC.

A public dance will follow from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., all at the MSCC.

Doors open at 5 p.m. for the dance and tickets are $7 per person.

“The dance is open to the public,” Long emphasized. “One does not have to be a senior.”

Long said the center has a special reason to celebrate 47 years of providing services to local seniors.

“We want to celebrate 47 years as the Marshaltown Senior Citizens Center, and get the word out about our new home. And we want to focus on the next 47 years moving forward,” Long said. “We will have frequent center users here, and board members answer questions about what we offer. We are working hard to encourage regulars from the previous center at 20 E. State St. and the temporary site in the Nicholas Center to return.”

Active seniors

Long explained the Senior Center’s mission.

“We are a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit adult recreation center offering peer companionship, stimulating social and leisure activities in a positive atmosphere for adults 55 and over,” she said. “And yes, 55 qualifies as a senior.”

Put simply, all one has to be to utilize the center’s many assets is to be 55 or older.

There are no membership dues or requirements.

“Almost all activities are free,” Long said. “And, we have a craft boutique open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday with quilts and other high-quality items for sale.”

Leanna Bowers and husband Perry Bowers of Gilman are two seniors who visit the center about three times per week and like the many activities it offers.

Leanne likes making projects with the Sew and Sews, and playing bingo with Perry and others on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“We are active seniors and the people who visit the center are active too,” Leanna said. “We are not old and decrepit.”

In late July, the group began playing again on two smaller size courts at their location in the Fisher Community Center.

Shuffleboard was extremely popular at the former center on State Street and Long and directors worked to provide alternative rollout courts.

“The new rollout courts are 29 feet long while regular size courts are 35 feet,” Roger Schroeder, a shuffleboard enthusiast said.

Long said that shuffleboard sessions are now played on Mondays from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Schroeder said he would be available for game lessons on Monday’s mornings from 10 a.m. until noon for anyone 55 years-old and over.

“Shuffleboard is a strategic game if it is played right,” Schroeder said. “But it is fun, and requires no special skill set to learn. All equipment is furnished. We would like to see more people learn the game and having fun. It is not just an old-peoples game, anyone over 55 is welcome to join.”

The group has about 12 regular players from Marshalltown and area as well as a Pleasant Hill couple.

Socialization and Recreation

City councilman Mike Gowdy has visited the center recently and has only heard good comments about the center’s new home

“I think it has exceeded expectations,” he said. “Local seniors have contributed a lot to this community over the years and deserve a place to socialize and recreate.”

Another senior who likes the new location is Debra Yakle, 64, of Marshalltown.

“It is easy to find, everyone knows where the Fisher Community Center is,” Yakle said. “I think it is great, we have a lot of room.”

She is like other members who want to see more seniors take advantage of what the center offers.

“I enjoy going just to be with the people,” she said. “I like to go on Fridays, for the Sew and Sews. I do not sew myself, but just having time with them and seeing what they create is fun. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I like to play bingo and then there are the dances once per month, I love going to those and I am looking forward to seeing everyone Oct. 18.”

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com