Because these centers are so vital to the everyday lives of many seniors who enjoy the games, food and fellowship offered at these centers, North Arkansas Development Council (NADC) Aging Program Director Ann Moser would like to provide some factual information regarding the reasons for the upcoming changes to the Hardy and Ash Flat Senior Centers.
Moser said there are no plans to close the centers all together. She said the only change to the Ash Flat and Hardy location would be on Monday and Wednesday. She said that they would begin being closed on July 1, if there is not a participant willing to open the center and insure it is locked after everyone leaves.
Due to decreased funding for the program and increased costs, Moser said it is not feasible to have a center director at these two locations on these days. She said that although no meal would be served on Monday and Wednesday at the Hardy and Ash Flat locations, all participants are more than welcome to visit the Cherokee Village Center for a meal and entertainment. The Cherokee Village location will not be affected by these changes.
Moser says the Cherokee Village Center has numerous activities available to seniors including bingo, games and other entertainment during the time that Ash Flat and Hardy's centers could be closed.
She said her offer to keep the two centers open for socialization on Monday and Wednesday still stands, however, a volunteer is needed to be responsible for the opening and closing.
"This is not a punishment to the participants," Moser said, "Expenses are just more than the income and we simply cannot continue at the level we did before the funding cuts." When asked about possible money from the economic recovery package, Moser said that although they were proud of the $20,000 the program received, the amount must cover a three county area, each with more than one center.
Moser said that to make the programs successful, 25 participants are needed daily. This does not mean the centers will close if this number isn't met, but she would like to encourage participation in the centers' meals and activities.
She said there is transportation available for those who would like to attend for a meal and entertainment on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at the Hardy and Ash Flat centers. To arrange transportation, interested participants may contact Pete Wyatt at the Ash Flat location at 994-2174 or Garlene King at the Hardy center at 856-2175.