Older Americans Center gradually reopening


JASPER — The Older Americans Center is slowly reopening as COVID-19 cases continue to decline and more members are vaccinated.

As of now, the OAC is doing some in-person exercise classes again, as well as book and puzzle rentals and banquet room rentals, Director Carie Dick said at a Tuesday Jasper Park Board meeting.

“They’re not beating the doors down, but they’re coming in,” she said. “There’s days each hour is full and days it’s not.”

Dick said the goal is to slowly bring back all activities over the next few months while still allowing for social distancing. A lot of members have called asking her when bingo will start again, to which she says that it’ll probably be one of the last activities to open.

Activity trips will also likely be one of the last to return, she said.

“I don’t know if I’m ready to throw everyone on the bus, but it’ll be nice to have that lined up for when we are,” she said.

In March, the center held two exercise classes a week in a socially distanced setting. The banquet room can fit about 30 people if they’re spaced out.

This month, there are banquet room rentals every Saturday. Dick said she’s shocked with the number of calls from people asking to reserve the room and places like the Parklands.

“Rentals are up, people are wanting to get out and they’re starting to have baby showers, bridal showers,” she said. “So we’re staying busy with all of that.”

Compared to other senior centers in the state, Dick said the OAC is opening at a slightly faster pace, based on centers she’s spoken with.

“I think they’re enjoying just getting out and socializing a bit,” she said, “and being able to see each other and feel like they have somewhere to go.”

The board also:

• Heard an update on the Jasper High School cross country course and an agreement between the school and the City of Jasper for use of the course.

• Heard that March was likely the best March ever for Buffalo Trace golf course, with a lot of golfers on Easter weekend, as well.

• Approved a three-day contract with GolfNow, an online booking service for tee times and golf courses.

• Gave permission to seek quotes for a new utility cart for park maintenance.

• Heard that there is updated COVID-19 signage on playgrounds and on the city’s website.

• Accepted contracts for the Youth Sports Complex. Soccer and the Junior Football League are $6,000 each and baseball and softball are $7,000 each.

• Heard from Parks Director Tom Moorman that there is some erosion near the waterfall at the Parklands that is being repaired.

• Accepted part-time employee contracts for the Jasper Municipal Swimming Pool. The pool is set to open Memorial Day Weekend.

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