Belhaven Senior Center closing June 30

Published 7:59 pm Thursday, May 19, 2016

BELHAVEN — The Belhaven Senior Center is scheduled to close June 30, but residents will still have access to the activities it offers.

Dave Rieves, a Belhaven resident who serves on the senior center’s steering committee, said turning the physical center, which was funded by the MidEast Commission, into a club group is a more flexible way to accommodate interested residents. Also, according to guidelines, a group can only be called a “center” if it obtains at least a 3,000-square-foot facility.

Rieves said most of the activities will now take place at St. James Episcopal Church, as well as Kaye Lee’s Corner Collectibles on Pamlico Street.

Belhaven Senior Center has weathered a rocky road in the past year, with months-long attempts to revitalize the location, including offering new classes, holding interest meetings and promoting the options available.

The steering committee was formed in an effort to help with the revitalization.

Julian Goff, who also serves on the committee, said residents were interested in saving the facility at first, but after a while, the numbers attending the interest meetings began to dwindle.

Despite this, there is still a group determined for it to continue, viewing it as a valuable community resource.

“The local people are trying to find a way to keep it going,” Goff said.

Although some of the center’s funding will be gone due to closure, Rieves said the committee wants to work on a 501c3 (nonprofit) designation to obtain grant money.

The Senior Club also won’t have to worry about meeting the requirements of a senior center and can instead adjust its programs to what residents want, he said.

To avoid the confusion, the club will keep the same phone number and maintain familiar activities, including quilting, painting and bridge.

“We’re going to try to have a lot of fun things to do,” Rieves said.