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Renovated Ferguson Senior Center won't be open in time for Christmas

New appliances sit in the unfinished kitchen at the Ferguson Community Center.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio
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New appliances sit in the unfinished kitchen at the Ferguson Community Center.

North St. Louis County seniors will be waiting a bit longer for the opening of a new center run by the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging. The organization is remodeling an unused kitchen and common room at the Ferguson Community Center to provide hot meals and programs for older adults.

Though she had once hoped to open the center by Christmas, Executive Director Mary Schaefer said the space should be ready in the next two months.

“But I’ve been wrong before!” Schaefer said, with a laugh. “There have just been a number of things that aren’t in our control.”

The Ferguson Community Center’s building, built as a Catholic school in the mid-1950s, was not equipped with a modern gas line because the kitchen had not been used in some time. Some asbestos also had to be remediated, Schaefer said.

Previous coverage: New senior center could bring hot meal deliveries to north St. Louis County.

The Ferguson Community Center opened in 2014 at 1050 Smith Ave.
Credit Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio
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The Ferguson Community Center opened in 2014 at 1050 Smith Ave.

With the new kitchen, the Meals on Wheels program will again be able to deliver hot meals to seniors in north St. Louis County. The program had to switch to weekly deliveries of frozen meals because there was nowhere to heat them up. In addition, the senior center will offer classes, volunteer opportunities, and a place to meet.

“It means that they will have a gathering place, they don’t have to ride on the bus for the long period of time they do now to go to Bridgeton.  It will mean they have a place they can volunteer and feel like they’re doing something — because they are — to contribute,” Schaefer said. “They become like a family when they’re part of a congregate center.”

The agency took out a loan to pay for construction, but Schaefer said they’re still looking for private donors and businesses willing to made tax-deductible donations through the Neighborhood Assistant Program.

Follow Durrie on Twitter: @durrieB

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