Aging Well: New community center, new opportunities |

Aging Well: New community center, new opportunities

Aging Well and Council on Aging combine forces to develop new programs

Tamera Manzanares


Do you have an idea or suggestion for healthy aging programs and activities at the new Steamboat Springs Community Center? If so, call the Aging Well line at 871-7676. We want to hear from you.

The old Steamboat Springs Community Center now is just a memory, but excitement is building about new healthy aging activities that will be possible at a larger, more versatile community center being built just down the road.

“The new community center will certainly be a place where we can offer more programs than we can offer right now,” said Roberta Gill, a member of the board of directors for the Routt County Council on Aging, one of the primary users of the old community center.

Construction of the 8,400-square-foot building is on schedule, and Steamboat Springs city officials anticipate seniors will be able to begin using the new center in February, said Anne Small, purchasing and risk manager in the city’s Internal Services department, which oversees facilities.

The Council on Aging is a nonprofit organization providing Routt County seniors services such as congregate meals, Meals on Wheels, transportation and an ombudsman. The organization also hosts programs including the Senior Foot Care Program, wellness clinics and VizAbilities, a support group for people with vision and hearing loss.

Located next to the Stock Bridge Transit Center west of downtown, the new community center will be almost double the size of the old center. In addition to better access and a more organized kitchen for preparing meals, the Council on Aging is looking forward to a larger community room that will accommodate two groups simultaneously with a folding divider wall.

The Council on Aging, which will have offices in the new building, is temporarily hosting meals and programs at Celebrity Resorts on High Point Drive.

With more space to work with, the Council on Aging is partnering with the Visiting Nurse Association’s Aging Well program to explore opportunities for more activities and programs that will appeal to not just seniors but anybody interested in aging a healthy, positive manner.

“Once the community center is up and running, it will be much more welcoming to people 50 and better, so it’s a great opportunity for the community,” said Dace Kramer, Aging Well coordinator for the VNA.

The nonprofit Aging Well program works to promote healthy aging practices in Routt and Moffat counties through its own programs as well as through partnerships with other community organizations and businesses with similar goals.

Aging Well programs include Chronic Disease Management, Tai Chi, arthritis exercise and ‘N Balance/fall prevention classes.

In addition to partnering with the Council on Aging, the VNA’s efforts to broaden Aging Well programs include a 6,000-square-foot community center addition to The Haven Assisted Living Center in Hayden. Designs for the project are complete, and the organization hopes to select a general contractor this fall, Kramer said.

With existing Aging Well and Council on Aging programs focused primarily on health and fitness, both organizations look forward to introducing more cultural- and lifestyle-related activities. Cooking classes, book and film clubs, a lecture series, table games, music events and art/craft classes are among ideas in the mix.

The brainstorming process also includes possibilities for intergenerational activities that would pair older adults with children or teenagers.

The Aging Well/Council on Aging partnership is working to have several new programs ready when the community center opens. Programs will gradually be added based on feasibility and interest, Gill said.

“Our overall goal is to have programs in place that will just be dynamic,” she said, noting that the center may also serve as a central place to advertise senior trips offered through the city, as well as other programs of interest happening throughout the community.

In addition to the Council on Aging, the new community center will have an office for the American Legion, which will have first right to use a conference room in the building. That room will also be available to other users.

City officials and the Council on Aging look forward to many more residents taking advantage of the comfort and amenities the new, energy efficient community center will offer, including a patio facing the river, larger restrooms, a snow melt system on the front sidewalk, space for a possible community garden and lots of natural indoor light.

“We anticipate it will get used much more,” Small said.

Tamera Manzanares can be reached at

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