LOGAN — The Scenic Hills Senior Center met with the Hocking County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning to share data and stories of service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marjorie Moore, Scenic Hills executive director, told the board that despite a public closure at the beginning of the pandemic, the senior center remained open to its employees as a critical resource for the seniors of Hocking County.
“I’d like to clarify that even though the senior center was closed to the public in the beginning of 2020, we never closed our doors,” Moore said. “Our staff came to work and we did other things, other than have people in the building.”
According to 2019 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, out of Hocking County’s 28,264 population, 19.5% are seniors over the age of 65. There will be more older adults than children in the United States by 2035, the census bureau projected in 2018.
The senior center provides activities, resources, community and more to Hocking County residents over the age of 50. The senior center’s membership has grown exponentially within the past three years, Janet Blair, who does marketing and education for Scenic Hills, said. It has two locations in Logan: 187 S. Sprint St. and its Educational & Wellness Center, at 580 Radio Lane.
Though the pandemic slowed registration, Moore estimates that 2021 membership will be well over 1,000. Membership dues are only $5 per year, Moore added. Moore told The Logan Daily News she estimates that around 30% of members are between the age of 50–59.
The senior center worked to protect and serve its members during the pandemic. It provided 2,286 COVID-19 vaccines to Hocking County seniors through a partnership with Shrivers Pharmacy, Moore said. From weekly clinics in April through October, the senior center saw 100–200 people each Friday, Moore said.
“(I), along with volunteers, worked the clinics, sometimes starting at 7 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m. in the evening,” Moore said. “After each clinic, we had to clean the area and wipe down everything, including the chairs and the walls. My staff has worked continuously on updating and cleaning our facilities.”
The Hocking County Sheriff’s Office and Hocking Hills Tourism Association also helped the senior center deliver 951 meals Monday through Friday to seniors during the pandemic.
Moore applauded the Hocking Hills community for coming together to help provide for local seniors. For an additional 31 weekends, the senior center also distributed weekend food boxes, Moore said.
“The community support that we had during the beginning of COVID was unbelievable,” Moore said.
Danielle Arnett, a wellness instructor at Scenic Hills, also spoke on how the center successfully adapted its health activities from in-person classes to online instruction during the pandemic. The senior center is looking to expand its programming, too.
“We’re working with some area professionals to continue to develop (our) own brand of this balance class called ‘Balancing Your Health,’” Arnett said. “We’re working to provide a fitness center for people (aged) 50 and above who would like to use our facility. And we’re going to use that fitness center to also create a phase 4 cardiac rehab program.”
The senior center currently offers outdoor bingo, drive-in movies, tai chi, chair yoga, cardio drumming, a Parkinson’s disease preparation class and more, Arnett said. It also hosts sing-a-longs in-person and on its Facebook page.
The commissioners commended Scenic Hills for its outstanding service to Hocking County as a flagship of the county’s dedication to its people. Commissioner Sandra Ogle thanks Moore and the Scenic Hills staff for their hard work.
“My first term in office, someone said you can judge a community by how they take care of their seniors,” Board President Jeff Dickerson said. “Hocking County does a great job.”
The commissioners also heard from Nate Simons, Hocking Athens Perry Community Action (HAPCAP) community development coordinator. Simons held a second public hearing regarding the county’s 2021 Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG, application.
The CDBG Small Cities Program is a federally funded program distributed by the state’s development services agency. Hocking County is eligible for $150,000 in 2021 allocation funding, provided the county meets requirements.
Simons and the county are asking for $70,000 for parking improvements for the Scenic Hills Senior Center; $50,000 for Hocking County sewer critical infrastructure improvements; and $30,000 for administration and fair housing. The county is also eligible to apply for up to $500,000 of CBDG Critical Infrastructure Grant Program funding.
The next commissioners meeting will be at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 17 in Commissioners Chambers in the Hocking County Courthouse, 1 E. Main St. Meetings are open to the public and livestreamed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hockingcommissioners/.
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