INGLEWOOD — Somewhere around the turn of the 21st century, senior citizens here were told they would be getting a new senior citizen center.
On Jan. 12, the day finally arrived. With much fanfare and several hundred people in attendance, along with local elected officials and other dignitaries, the Inglewood Senior Center officially opened.
Inglewood City Council members, along with Mayor James T. Butts and U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, spoke about the excitement they felt now that the senior center had finally opened.
“I’m so proud of this center,” Waters said. “It’s another wonderful accomplishment here in Inglewood. I worked for many years to get $4.5 million to build the center. It’s a crowning achievement for me, also.”
As far as what the new building means to the city’s senior residents, Waters said: “Our senior citizens have to always be upfront, we always have to focus on them. This means that now they have a wonderful place where they can enjoy all of the kind of activities that are available to seniors. … Now they have a focal point where this can happen.”
Besides the money that Waters had earmarked for the project, the 38,000-square-foot facility was also a project that was funded by several grants. According to the site, urbanize.LA, the Inglewood Senior Center was funded by a community development block grant and a HUD Economic Development lnitiative Grant.
The $27 million senior center is located on the corner of Locust and Queen streets, only two blocks away from Inglewood City Hall.
To say this facility has been a labor of love for the city could be an understatement.
The first senior center was erected in 1975. It closed in 2005.
The newly upgraded building is bigger and state-of-the-art, with six multi-purpose rooms, a computer room and a fitness center.
Trina Tyson, the operations manager at the Inglewood Senior Center, calls it a “community recreational center.” One of the selling spots for the center is that you don’t just have to be a resident of Inglewood to have access to the facility. The cost to use the place is right as well. The cost is only $20 a year.
“Today, Jan. 12, completes a promise that was made to seniors, well over 17, 18 years ago that they would have a facility, so they can gather and have recreation and study and see service,” Mayor Butts said. “Now, we are opening a $27-million, 38,000-square-foot edifice and place to be for seniors of the city of Inglewood. And we put it right in the middle of three Inglewood housing facilities. It’s a great day for the city of Inglewood.”
City Councilman George Dotson, who oversees District 1, where the senior center is located, is excited for seniors.
“It’s one of the best and one of the biggest,” Dotson said. “This is a site that we’ve been working on or had been torn down for 11 years. It’s a dream of mine to have it back.”