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Conway senior center renamed, officials now eyeing expansion

By Carol Rolf

This article was originally published November 29, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. Updated November 28, 2012 at 12:00 p.m.

— While the Faulkner County Senior Citizens Program will continue a tradition on Saturday with its 32nd annual pancake breakfast, silent auction, craft and bake sale, its flagship center in Conway is undergoing some changes.

The Conway Senior Citizen Center, at 1620 Donaghey Ave., recently became the Conway Senior Wellness and Activity Center and celebrated its name change with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in September.

The center’s board of directors has also hired a consultant to begin a feasibility study on building or acquiring a new center.

“We are one of only nine centers that have been certified as a wellness and activity center by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Aging and Adult Services,” said Debra Robinson, executive director of the Faulkner County Senior Citizens Program, which is a United Way agency. “We had to meet the seven ‘dimensions of wellness’ to achieve it.

“These ‘dimensions of wellness’ are physical, intellectual, social, environmental, vocational, spiritual and emotional,” she explained. “We offer different programs that fit into each of these categories.”

“Our whole goal is to attract seniors at an earlier age so we can help them stay well and healthy,” Robinson said, adding that the center is for those older than 60 and their spouses.

The Conway center, which normally serves 75 to 80 people per day, offers home-delivered meals, transportation, congregate meals and recreational activities.

Robinson said that in order to extend the center’s services to even more senior citi-

zens, a consultant, Fred Hueston of Conway, has been hired to conduct a feasibility study for building or buying a new senior center in Conway.

“Fred has worked with other organizations in the community, such as the Boys and Girls Club, Bethlehem House and Conway Regional, in doing their building campaigns,” Robinson said.

“We were given funding from the Nabholz Family Foundation to have plans drawn up for a new center. It would cost approximately $9 million to build using those plans. We are dreaming big,” she said.

“Since receiving certification as a senior wellness and activity center, we have received calls from people offering to sell us land, but no one offering to donate money,” Robinson said. “We have been contacted by the owners of Agora (Special Events Center), who are trying to sell their building. We have taken a look at it, and we think it would be a good fit for us. It’s a better location, and there is a lot more room. But they may sell it before we can complete our feasibility study. We will just have to see what happens.”

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