Easy accessibility, better parking, access to bus service and being in a more centralized and secure building are a few of the reasons area residents are excited about the opening of the Senior Enrichment Center.
All community members are invited to attend an open house and dedication ceremony for the SEC opening at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 22, at City Center Mall, 330 Third Ave. NE, Cambridge. Rep. Rick Nolan, Rep. Sean Nienow, Isanti County Commissioner Susan Morris, Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer and representatives from the Isanti County Commission on Aging will be in attendance. The Prime Time Singers will participate, singing a variety of patriotic songs to celebrate the occasion. Catered food and refreshments will be served.
SEC coordinator Barbara Bergwall explained the relocation of the Senior Activity Center from 332 Third Ave. NW to City Center Mall has been in the works for a while, with the groundbreaking at City Center Mall held Feb. 5.
“We are above ecstatic about our opening at the City Center Mall,” Bergwall said. “It’s wonderful and crazy busy, but we are enjoying this and having the time of our life. To see something come into fruition like this is so much fun. We are so fortunate to have a community embrace our desires and support our opening in the City Center Mall. We invite everyone to come out and attend our ribbon cutting ceremony May 22.”
Bergwall said changing the name to Senior Enrichment Center better reflects the services that will be offered at its new location.
“We are changing our name to the Senior Enrichment Center because we want our name to encompass and reflect the services we offer,” Bergwall said. “Besides a wide variety of activities such as card clubs and knitting groups, we offer heath resources and seminars, blood pressure checks and healthy eating activities. We want our center to help the lives of our area seniors, and we are looking at more services we can offer. We’ve recently added book talks and bird talks. We want the baby boomers to come out and check us out and considering volunteering. We need new volunteers to help our next generation and we plan on having fun while doing this.”
BJ Baas Builders of Cambridge remodeled the space inside the mall for a cost of $90,169. The main space for the SEC is 1,300 square feet. An additional 778 square feet will be also be remodeled for various uses, including space for community meetings.
The mall location includes dining tables, a commercial kitchen and large area in the back that can be used for senior meetings, as well as other organizational and community meetings. The commercial kitchen will be a licensed kitchen and will also serve as a crisis kitchen to make meals for police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders if needed.
Bergwall said as of May 23, all activities will be held at the SEC. Bergwall encourages people to read her weekly column in the Isanti County News for activity listings. Interested residents can also sign up to receive the SEC newsletter. A new website, SACSMN.org, will also be launched in the near future.
Bergwall explained the new cafe at the SEC is tentatively scheduled to open the first part of July. The cafe will be open to anyone in the community Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. She said a $4 meal for low-income people and seniors will be available for purchase, in addition to a regular-priced menu.
The Friday morning Breakfast Club will continue to operate and serve affordable breakfasts on Friday mornings, since the cafe will be closed that day.
Bergwall said she appreciates the support of the Cambridge City Council and staff.
“We’ve had terrific support from Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer, City Administrator Lynda Woulfe and Northbound Liquor manager Terry Baar,” Bergwall said. “I can personally tell you Lynda is an administrative talent, and she’s just a jewel at the city. We thank all the city officials for their support and catching on with our vision.”
Bergwall said everyone is feeling a little nostalgic about the move to City Center Mall. She said she recently came across a scrapbook dated May 12, 1967. She mentioned other significant “May” events included the Senior Activity Center becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in May 1983 and May 12, 2014, was the date the SAC started moving items into City Center Mall.
Bergwall mentioned Judy Schroeder, Mae Lindberg, Lewis Leasure and Tom and Vicky’s people with House of Faith have been wonderful in helping with the relocation.
Bergwall explained Catholic Charities will continue to operate their senior dining lunches out of the building at 332 Third Ave. NW until July 1.
Bergwall said items are still needed at the SEC. There is a fund set up at Minnco Credit Union for those wishing to make a financial contribution to support the move to the mall. Donations can be made at any Minnco location payable to “Isanti County Commission on Aging.”