Friday will mark the first time since April 2020 that the West Point Senior Center on West Main Street will be open to serve Jefferson City seniors.
Nathan Baysinger, who is administrator of West Point and of Clark Senior Center on Linden Drive, said they are planning to serve 35-40 people, which is what they had been doing before West Point had to close because of the pandemic.
He said they plan to go back to their regular hours of 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Lunch will be served 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
The call for a West Side senior center came in May 2017 after a new store filled the space the senior center had been in at Capital Mall. With that site no longer accessible, seniors on the west side of the city who wanted to get a hot meal and to socialize had to travel to Clarke. That started the effort that led to the opening of West Point in March 2018.
"People come in to play various card games, use computers and take classes, such as Tai chi," said Bill Deeken, board president of the Senior Nutrition Council, which runs the centers. "We want it open for everybody to use."
Baysinger and Deeken said having the center closed during the pandemic affected many people.
"We had to figure out the best way to serve people, so we switched to curbside for a long time," Baysinger said. "While we are reopening for indoor dining, we still can do curbside for those who want it."
Baysinger said they have been serving 35-50 people each day at Clarke and providing 120-125 homebound meals.
"The pandemic didn't slow down our homebound program, other than early on we didn't have as much of some products, like juice and bread, due to low supplies," Baysinger said.
"Anybody who had activities at West Point before we closed, we pre-reserved their same spots because we assumed those groups would like to have their spots back," Baysinger added. "Whenever something has been closed for a year-and-a-half, there's going to be some kinks. So bear with us, and we'll find whatever the new stasis of what happiness is."
To get in touch with West Point staff, call 573-635-4120.