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Solvang Senior Center continues fundraising while also launching a new site with double the size

SOLVANG, Calif. - The aging Solvang Senior Center is ready for a revitalization, in the form of a new building, twice its present size.

A $5-million fundraising goal has reached one step in the plan to build a 5000-square foot center to replace the current building. The new center will also have room for community events.

The need is growing substantially for activities, wellness events, and meals.

Solvang resident Willie Mueller said, "I'm very excited about a new center because we've got so many members and we need more room and we need more individual rooms for all our  classes."

The center is located in the same parking lot as the Veterans Building off of Mission Drive. The Veterans Center's kitchen and space will be the temporary home for seniors during construction.   Plans are in the works to have as close to the same schedule as possible.

The center is open Monday through Friday. It has a full schedule throughout the day that could include yoga classes, card games, a hot lunch, and music for example.

Funding for the center's expansion has come in from multiple sources at this point including generous donors and member contributions.

They include contributions from Dr. Virgil Elings, the family of Ken and Lloyd Mills, the Holzheu family, the Ann Jackson Family Foundation, the Hutton Parker Foundation, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, the Santa Ynez Valley Foundation, and the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation.

Ongoing fundraising continues during the upcoming construction phase.

Ellen Albertoni is the Solvang Senior Center Executive Director. She says funding has been impressive at all levels. "From $25. a month to whatever the larger sums. It's their facility." It's also a site that is planning for the future. "We have younger active aging adults, who have moved into the area  to help take care of aging parents.  They need a place to come," she said.

Mueler said going to the center is more rewarding than staying at home al day. "You leave home, you meet other people and do activities and it keeps you going."

"It's just it's just fun, the camaraderie.  I've lived here a long time since 1968 and I see old friends.  So renewing friendships and seeing people that we raised our kids together, that's that's part of the fun," said Nancy Moore.

Drawings of the new building are on the wall inside the current center. Albertoni said, "we will have one main large room as we do now, we seat 75. When we have a seated meal we will be able to accommodate 125.  We will have a beautiful state of the art kitchen."

The kitchen is already busy making up to 55 meals a day.   Some are enjoyed here but many are in to-go containers heading home for a meal later in the day, or to someone who couldn't come by.

Once a month they have a special dinner night.

It's all making a difference in the quality of life in a population that is rapidly growing.

Albertoni said, "within Solvang our seniors are living three  to five years longer than elsewhere so is it the sense of community or is it coming to the center the sense of well being.   It's fantastic that happens."

For more information or to make donations go to: Solvang Senior Center

Article Topic Follows: Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County
Solvang Senior Center

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John Palminteri

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