Nordonia Hills -- A proposal that area communities join forces to create a senior center in Macedonia's former city hall resulted in the creation of two senior centers.
Macedonia Mayor Don Kuchta in November opened the first senior center in Macedonia City Hall's basement community room. It operates weekdays, except Wednesdays and the third Thursday of the month when it is used for other purposes, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Meanwhile, Northfield Center, Northfield Village and Sagamore Hills in December partnered to start a senior center at Epiphany Lutheran Church on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The church is on Valley View Road, just west of Route 8 in Northfield Center and at a cost of $1,500 per community for a six-month trial period, it began Jan. 2.
Both are offered free to seniors, and attendance at both has been light -- at least to start, officials say.
"Not a lot of people have used it, yet," Kuchta said Jan. 4, "We figure that will start changing once we get the equipment in there."
On Dec. 13, City Council accepted a $1,000 donation from the Nordonia Hills Rotary Club and $1,500 from Valley View Road-based Jet Systems, Inc.
Kuchta said he is also anticipating another donation, but did not have any information about it.
Kuchta said there are plans to purchase in the immediate future two large screen television sets, a Nintendo Wii game system, as well as a used pool table and ping pong table.
"I would say we'll be ready to roll as soon as the month is out," he said.
Northfield Center Trustee Paul Buescher said attendance was low at the other center's first day Jan. 3 -- only about five people.
"We're attributing that to it being right after the holiday," he said. "Jan. 9 will be the next one. We'll see what happens then."
Northfield Center Trustee Richard Reville said there were four people exercising when he stopped by in the morning Jan. 3.
"It was a really cold morning," he said. "I'm sure we'll get a better turnout the next time due to the fact it's going to be warmer.
While the city's community room has a maximum capacity of about 120 people, the 5,000-square-foot church facility has a 370-person capacity.
Sagamore Hills Township Administrator Paul Schweikert said the Jan. 9 "Seniors Day" at Epiphany Lutheran will begin at 10 a.m. with an exercise class.
He said community officials hope seniors who use the center there will form a board at some point to plan activities on their own.
Kuchta first proposed the communities cooperate in forming a senior center in the former city hall in 2011. The city sold the building, which is in front of the City Hall, in 2004.
It has been vacant since 2008 and though the county agreed in principal to allow it to be used as a senior center, the communities would have had to make an estimated $200,000 in repairs, plus pay annual operating and maintenance costs, including an estimated $30,000 for utilities.
Kuchta said his staff later proposed allowing seniors to use the community room.
Sagamore Hills Trustee John Zaccardelli raised the church as an alternative and about 50 seniors attended a Dec. 1 open house to express interest in using that facility.