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Now and Then

| Community | December 7, 2018

A timeworn retort to those who grumble about passing the half-century mark in age is: “It beats the alternative.”

In the Santa Clarita Valley, the staff at the Senior Center on Market Avenue has made it their mission for over 42 years to provide health and wellness services, comfort, companionship, and recreation to all those who have “beat the alternative.”

Like its clients, the aging Market Avenue building, (constructed in the ‘60s) has also “beat the alternative,” but has been stretched to the breaking point by our valley’s burgeoning senior citizen population.

In the last four years, the board members of the Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging (SCVOA), have waged a determined fundraising campaign to give our seniors a new, modern complex that will not only provide them with the expanded resources and services they need, but do it in a roomy 30,400-square-foot atmosphere.

A land donation by the Brookfield Development at Golden Valley and Newhall Ranch Roads, and commitments of $3.5 million each from the city of Santa Clarita and the County of Los Angeles gave the $11.4 million dollar project a much-needed boost.

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With Capital Campaign co-chairs Peggy Rasmussen and Todd Stevens at the helm, donations from businesses, community groups, and individuals have brought the project within $1 million of its goal. Those who motor past the 2.5-acre site have watched the building take shape since its October, 2017 groundbreaking ceremonies.

The evolving superstructure has been designed to include a banquet room that will accommodate over 250 people, a luxurious fireplace-accented lounge and library, six multi-purpose rooms, an outdoor cabana with concert seating, a fitness center, and dance studio.

Executive director Kevin MacDonald is confident the project is on schedule to meet its February 2019 completion date. Having three times the space of the current Center, MacDonald recently reported that the new building will comfortably house new services like a second career center, more health and wellness programs, a tech center, education center, and a financial information center. In addition, a Sisters in Time program will be offered, which will help senior women find shared housing opportunities.

“These new centers will expand the services available to our seniors even as we continue our current programming,” said MacDonald.

The current services include an adult day program for those with Alzheimer’s, recreational activities throughout the day, weekly lunches on site, handy workers for projects in the home, transportation in the SCV, trips and tours, and home-delivered meals.

“We encourage all SCV seniors to come to our new Center for the education and the companionship, but also to enjoy the many activities we offer with what we call ‘a touch of love.’ It will be part country club, part social services,” concluded Kevin.

To meet the construction completion goal, the SCVCOA officials are offering donors the honor of having their names placed on a wall beside the current supporters. Donations can be made online at www.NewSeniorCenter.com or by mailing a check payable to SCVCOA-Building Fund (memo: Capital Campaign) to 22900 Market Street, Santa Clarita, CA 91321. A credit card donation may also be made by calling the SCV Senior Center at 661-259-9444.

Why, you may ask, if you have not yet reached that “Golden Age” benchmark, should you get on board and donate to the Senior Center Building Fund? May I respectively remind you that no matter what your age today, it is a sure bet (if you “beat the alternative”) you will one day need the services and enjoy the amenities provided at the new building.

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About Linda Pedersen

Linda Pedersen is a 50-year resident of the Santa Clarita Valley. She has alternated being a columnist and feature writer with volunteering in the community.

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