City officials and representatives from the Area Agency on Aging joined
together to initiate the construction of the new Joplin Senior Center during a
groundbreaking ceremony today.
The 14,400-square foot Senior Center will be located on the south side
of 26th Street and borders the east side of Mercy Public Park. The
center provides many benefits to the senior community by offering expanded meal
services, exercise classes, computer lab, health and wellness checks and
The current center received structural damage during the May 2011
tornado. In addition to the building damage, the kitchen and service areas are
inadequate for the level of food service and demand, as the senior nutrition
program has grown. Annually, the Senior Center provides 176,000 meals a year to
senior citizens with approximately 59,000 of these distributed through the
Meals on Wheels program for homebound citizens. Seating in the new center’s
dining area will accommodate about 200 people.
Programming at the center has also expanded over the years and now
includes fitness, health and recreational activities not originally planned for
that facility. The new facility connects to walking trails for health and
fitness and includes areas both indoor and outdoor for recreation.
“We’re very excited for this new center,” said Stan Heater, Chief
Executive Officer of the Area Agency on Aging, the organization that will operate
the center. “The enlarged and upgraded kitchen along with a designated pick-up
area for meals will be great additions for our senior meal program.”
Sitting just east of Mercy Park, the building will offer a nice view
as well as outdoor seating for meals and other activities. A zero-threshold
design of the walking surfaces is planned, allowing a level plane without
having a curb to step over as people walk from the parking lot to the sidewalk
The City will also be adding a Trolley Stop at the Center, so seniors
will have a new option in traveling to the Center.
“As the project team worked on the plans of the building, they focused
on both the appearance and the function that would appeal to seniors,” said Mayor
Mike Seibert. “The Trolley Stop is just another way to provide convenience to
our community. This will be a beautiful facility that offers everything the
Senior Center has now with an improved layout and some nice additions. We look
forward to its completion and welcoming our seniors into the new center.”
Joplin City Council recently authorized $3.74 million to R.E. Smith
Construction as the contractor for the project. Design for the project was
completed by Ryan Faust with Bates Architecture of Rogers, Arkansas. Opening of
the new facility is planned for summer 2018.
Funding for this project is
through the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery program offered
to the City of Joplin from U.S. Housing and Urban Development following the May