Seymour Community Center reopening


After being closed for more than a year due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Seymour Community Center reopened its door for some private events such as birthday parties earlier this spring.

On Monday, senior citizens can head back to the center to participate in some fun, fellowship and socializing for a few hours each week day.

Those who spent time at the center before the pandemic hit will find one new change has occurred as a new assistant program director has been put in place.

Seymour native Allycen Wheeler will largely be responsible for day-to-day operations of the center and plans to work closely with those senior citizens who show up for activities.

“I cannot wait to meet everybody and to get to know everybody and start to form those relationships,” the 21-year-old said.

Seymour Parks and Recreation Administrative Assistant Tonya Disque, who has been working with Wheeler to reopen the center for seniors, said she was looking forward to seeing what Wheeler can accomplish in her new role.

“We’re ready to have activities in the community center again, and I think that she’s willing and able to take this position further than its been taken before,” she said.

Disque said local residents have been saying they would like the community center to reopen so seniors can return to play cards and other games or just socialize.

“They want to come back, and the time was right,” she said.

There will not be any COVID-19 restrictions which means masks will not have to be worn.

“I think most of (the seniors) are vaccinated and they’re ready to go out and be in the world again,” Disque said. “I think it helps the overall morale for them to not be stuck in their house now.”

Programming is still being planned, and Wheeler is in the process of obtaining her Class B Commercial driver’s license. That would allow her to drive the center’s bus and take seniors on day trips.

The tentative schedule has the center open for seniors from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, but that could change once programming is put in place.

Some ideas for trips included visiting Blue’s Canoe Livery, which is an outdoor recreation center in Edinburgh, and a winery cruise. The bus is handicap-accessible and can carry as many as 20 people. If someone in a wheelchair is aboard the bus, it can still hold 16.

Having the CDL also allows Wheeler to be able to pick up people at their homes and bring them to the center and later return them home.

“She will be the bus driver and the activities director and assistant program director all-in-one,” Disque said.

Wheeler recently test drove the bus at the Seymour Department of Public Works at Freeman Field where it is kept when not in use, and she said everything went well.

“I backed it up just fine,” she said

As for what is planned, Wheeler said there will be coffee and doughnuts on Monday mornings. Although there will not be any meals, light snacks with drinks will be provided.

She said wants to gauge interest by asking returning seniors what their favorite activities were before the center closed, and what didn’t work back then.

“They don’t want to go to the nursing home and play bingo, they want to do fun stuff,” Disque said. “They don’t want to go somewhere and sit.”

Once programming has been set, Wheeler said she will plan to put together a monthly schedule of activities. Fliers with the schedule will be available at the center and published in The Tribune. A Facebook page is also in the works.

While it’s primarily a gathering place for local seniors, the Seymour Community Center will also offer programming for children.

A monthly date is being planned for Kids Corner, an event offering children’s programming and book readings.

Activities for adults that aren’t seniors are also in the works.

“We appreciate our parks and recreation board for trusting us to safely reopen the community center,” Disque said. That decision was made at the board’s April meeting.

In February 2020, the center underwent renovations including the walls being repainted. A food prep table was also installed and new handles were added to cabinets and drawers.

The center also remains available for rental. The downstairs can be rented for $100, and the upstairs for $10. A full kitchen is available downstairs.

Call 812-522-6420 to reserve.

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