Washington County Adult Center Closing Will Leave Seniors At A Loss

Wednesday, November 16th 2011, 6:38 pm
By: News On 6

The economy has taken its toll on a Green Country adult center. The Washington County Adult Center is set to close at the end of the year, leaving hundreds of senior citizens out of luck.

Lunchtime at the Washington County Adult Center brings the usual crowd, including 91-year-old Marguerite Johnson.

"This is my home away from home," she said.

Johnson has been coming to the adult center for more than 20 years. It's a place where her friends play cards or she takes a china painting class...anything, she says, to keep her mind busy and her body active

"I think if I sit down in a recliner I'll be gone," she jokes.

The adult center has been serving seniors since 1980 and runs entirely on donations; it doesn't get anything from the county government.

It also rents out some space to other organizations including the Disabled American Veterans to help pay the bills. But its days are numbered and it's planning to close at the end of the year.

"Well I call it an economic casualty. The donations have continually gone down over the past four years, and the cost of operating facility of this size has continued to get higher," said Nancy Wall, Center Director.

Wall says the bare minimum to run the facility every month is $6,300. She says close to 400 seniors come here every month for lunch, fellowship, and a little fun.

"It's like people don't understand what happens until a facility like this is closed and gone," Wall said. "Once it's closed and gone, it's a lot harder to get something like this back up and running."

Wall has been here for ten years and can hardly believe she may have to say goodbye to her longtime friends.

"I have lots of grandparents. They've all become grandparents to me...it will be a sad day," she said.

Marguerite is worried too, she doesn't know what she'll do if the center is forced to close its doors.

"I'm concerned. I don't think anything will take its place," she said.

Wall says the board is looking to reorganize the adult center and serve more than just seniors which would help them get more money. But she says the bottom line is unless they get more donations, the facility will close on December 31st.