By Kellen M. Quigley
A staple in the Springville community for three years now, the Concord Senior Center will celebrate its third anniversary this Saturday with a special open house.
From 4 to 6 p.m. on Aug. 17, all are welcome to visit the center at 40 Commerce Drive in Springville to see all that the seniors are up to, enjoy some treats and hear live music.
Director Eleanor Eschborn has been at the senior for two of those three years the center has been around, which she said went by fast. In that time, seeing all the people each week has been her favorite part.
“See how far we’ve come from one day a week with lunch, and now we have it four and five,” she said. “We’re busy all the time, we’re starting night things and we’re always open to ideas of anything new.”
The Concord Senior Center opened Aug. 1, 2016, but the history of the seniors meeting in the community extends back several decades.
The Concord Senior Club had been in existence for about 60 years and had been looking for a new place to meet for a number of years. Eschborn said for a while they had met at the Concord Town Hall, where in the winter it was too cold and in the summer too hot.
During this time, the Stay Fit Nutrition lunches were served at the Salaam Lutheran Church.
For about seven years, former Town Supervisor Gary Illapito and the town board had worked on building a new center for the community. It was eventually put before town residents with a vote and was approved.
When the new center began, Eschorn said “they really didn’t develop anything at first. I think we’re developing things that people want.”
Although named the Concord Senior Center, she said people from many neighboring communities stop by.
“We get people from Ashford, Otto, East Otto, Boston, Gowanda and Sardinia,” she said. “We get a whole variety.”
On Saturday, Eschborn said each senior group will have a table set up for members so those who attend can see what they do. Erie County will have information about the fitness nutrition and some members of the Concord Town Board may be around to say hi.
“I would just love to see different people, not only the seniors, but just any person coming in, because we’re all going to get older,” she said. “Everybody is going to be able to use the senior center at some time.”
Also on Saturday, Eschborn said she’ll have a suggestion box out for anyone to give ideas on what they’d like to see the center to do.
For now, there are many groups going in the center, including the Stay Fit exercises, yoga, Stitches Quilt Group, euchre card club, the Springville Concord Garden Club, Women’s Club, the home bureau, community crafters and the Concord Senior Club.
The Club works in the garden each week and it’s the local seniors who benefit from the vegetables harvested, Eschborn said.
“They do the garden out here, they take care of it and then the senior reap the rewards,” she said.
The Red Cross Blood Mobile comes to the center monthly, an AARP Defensive Driving Class is presented regularly and many medical insurance representatives stop by the center each month to help seniors with their health insurances.
Eschborn said the center is also working with Services for Individuals with Disabilities, who come there every Friday and help with cleaning.
“They learn skills by coming here, so we’re helping the disabled also that way,” she said.
Eschborn said the center is now a social services site, where before there wasn’t really anybody to go to. She said they also have contacts with Erie County and Cattaraugus County.
Looking to the future, Eschborn said she’d like to get more evening programs going at the center.
“It seems like by 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock everybody is gone,” she said. “Bands seem to do great.” Each Monday evening, the Springville Jazz Group practices at the center. A couple times a year, the center hosts concerts with live bands performing and the tickets sell out in no time.
Eschborn said they’re also working on getting a van for the center to transport potential patrons who otherwise couldn’t get there to and from the center.
“Of course I couldn’t do it all without my staff,” she said. “My staff is fantastic. I have the best staff in the world, and volunteers.”
While the center has been trying to grow more, among the challenges has been finding out what people like and want to see and support. Until then, anyone in the center is considered a success.
“I don’t care how many people are here,” Eschborn said. “If one person is in here, that isn’t one person sitting at home staring at their four walls.”