Seniors satisfied with The Center's temporary locale

WORTHINGTON -- The Center's newest location in the Schwalbach Ace Hardware building had some wondering if senior citizens would be left wandering among the power tools.

Senior Center
A large roomful of ladies play bridge at the new senior center location on Oxford Street in Worthington. (BRIAN KORTHALS/DAILY GLOBE)

WORTHINGTON -- The Center's newest location in the Schwalbach Ace Hardware building had some wondering if senior citizens would be left wandering among the power tools.

But the brightly colored walls of the former Quizno's, which is walled off from the hardware store, show a different reality.

Coffee. Cards. Pool. Not a drill or hammer in sight.

And if some of the regulars at The Center -- the working title for the senior citizens/community center the city is developing -- are any indication, it's a reality that's fine with them. For now, anyway.

"I like this one well; I think it's as good as we'll ever need," said Don Hanson, a Worthington resident who has frequented the city's senior center since it was located downtown -- a span of about 25 years, he estimated. "I can't speak for the younger people, but I think this place is adequate."


He usually plays pinochle, a game he remembers from his youth.

"I learned to play pinochle back when I was pretty young. I was playing when Pearl Harbor hit," he remembered. He also plays with the men's pool club -- "I only squeeze in when they need me," he joked.

Meanwhile, the women's card club also gets together on Tuesdays to play bridge, pinochle and 500.

"There's no comparison, in a good way," said Worthington's Marjorie Johnson, referring to the difference between the Quizno's location and The Center's former location in MC Fitness, as she played bridge at one of several card tables. "It's airier, clean, easy to get to, good parking and centrally located."

Tuesday afternoons are especially busy, said Community Center Committee chair Alice Hoffman, and The Center already counts about 70 people among its members.

Pam Christoffer, a registered nurse in the home care department at Sanford Regional Hospital Worthington, is available from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays to take blood pressure readings and counsel seniors about nutrition, exercise and the importance of staying hydrated. She can also help explain terms and procedures from the doctor's office in a clearer way.

"We chat about people's different diagnoses, their medicines, if they've had any kind of testing we talk about what to prepare for ... and what these results actually mean," she said, adding that she often socializes with folks as well. "A lot of times people enjoy just visiting," she said.

What's next for The Center?


That depends largely on its members. There will be an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at The Center, 1131 Oxford St., during which time community members can join the center for a nominal fee and sign up for activities.

"We're going to have a bean bag toss at the open house, and we're going to try to start a horseshoe league. We just have to really start expanding our programs," Hoffman said. "We'd like to have a co-ed card club, and somebody approached me about having a fantasy football league on our TV here.

"We'd like to have some social events," she continued, suggesting a monthly birthday club for seniors. "We're just experimenting with a lot of things and seeing what the interests are."

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