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Improvements at Golden Age Center show facility is not standing still

Sat, Aug 18th 2018 07:00 am
The Golden Age Center in the Nike Base Park has been spruced up with the addition of a garden on Lorraine Lane.
The Golden Age Center in the Nike Base Park has been spruced up with the addition of a garden on Lorraine Lane.
By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
New improvements at the Town of Grand Island's Golden Age Center reflect a philosophy of forward thinking for the town's oldest residents.
Jennifer Menter, the recreation supervisor at the Golden Age Center, said her goal is to make the center at the Nike Base on Whitehaven Road "great for today without knowing what tomorrow's going to bring."
"There's a lot of things that I've been trying to put a lot of effort into to make the center better for everyone, and for newer members and members that have been around for years," Menter said this week. "A lot of people think of this as a second home, so I try to make it look and feel that way as much as possible."
A highly visible recent change at the center in the Nike Base is an improved Memorial Wall that honors past patrons.
"The biggest thing I think I'm really excited about right now is just making sure that I had a special place for people who purchase plaques to remember their past friends, friends that had passed away that were also members of the center," Menter said. She said that over the years so many plaques were damaged or broken because of the harsh winters and age. Menter said she did some research and tried to find plaques that were purchased in the last 20 years, found out what was written on each, and had them remade and put them on the Golden Age Center Memorial Wall.
"I had all those plaques remade so they're now in a safe place where people can easily see them and read them and reflect and remember their friends that sadly have passed on," Menter said. She said Nancy Tobe, Golden Age Club president, purchased an angel statue and had it blessed by the priest at her parish, and it now rests in the Memorial Garden under the Memorial Wall.
"And then as the summer and the fall and the next year go on, more flowers and shrubs will be planted in the garden itself," Menter said.
"We also bought a red rosebush that is in memory of our past member, Jakob Jung," said Menter, who called Jung a very active member of the center who passed away this year. "He also used to be what I considered our golden age gardener. He took a lot of pride in the plants and beautiful flowers around the center, and he, for many years, was part of the Rose Garden Society in our area."
The benches will be re-anchored to face the Memorial Wall in the garden area to make a space more conducive for viewing and silent reflection.
"Having that Memorial Wall and starting to build that garden area with freshly painted benches and stepping stones leading up to the Memorial Wall where they can reflect on all the good times here and good times with their friends I think is really, really important," Menter said.
The Golden Age Center membership base is approximately 1,800 people, Menter said, with about 125 people a day coming and going from the center for programs, to eat, or to socialize. She said support from government allows the GAC to meet growing needs.
"I've been able to make these improvements because of the fantastic support I have of the Town Board and the budget that they've provided me," she said. "I feel that they see my vision and where I'm coming from and why I asked for certain things. And I've been very vocal with them, telling them that though, we're doing okay, right now, we're not ready for the future. I'm going to be asking them for more as the future comes up because the needs of our seniors are constantly changing, and with their lives being longer, their needs are growing greater."
The Golden Age Center in the Nike Base Park has been spruced up with the addition of a Memorial Wall.

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