New space sought for Zephyrhills Senior Center

Pasco County Senior Services is seeking a new location for the Zephyrhills Senior Center, after its abrupt closure at St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church.

Last month, the church informed the county it no longer could support the program, citing financial reasons.

The senior center closed on Dec. 31. It been operated at the church since 2010.

The Zephyrhills Senior Center has been located at St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church since 2010, but closed on Dec. 31, after the church said it no longer could support the program, citing financial concerns. (File)

Under a public-private agreement, the church lent out its multipurpose space at no cost, while the county provided meals and other services to seniors in the community.

Dozens of residents took advantage of the Zephyrhills programs each day.

Those seniors have since been redirected to the Dade City Senior Center, until the county finds a new facility to support a program in Zephyrhills.

Officials hope to pinpoint a permanent location within the next few weeks, likely under another public-private scenario.

It’s not the first time Zephyrhills seniors have been forced to trek to Dade City to receive meals and services.

The senior space was shut down in September 2016 for kitchen renovations, after black mold was discovered.

The facility reopened nine months later, after a $33,000 makeover fully funded by the church.

Besides Dade City and Zephyrhills, the county’s senior services division operates facilities in Port Richey, New Port Richey, Land O’ Lakes and Shady Hills.

At each facility, hot, balanced meals are served five days a week, free to seniors age 60 and older.

The locales also provide seniors with entertainment and socialization.

Card games, bingo and puzzles were some of the regularly scheduled events at the Zephyrhills Senior Center.

Movies, live music and guest speakers were also presented there each month.

Those broad offerings will remain at the new location, according to Diane Cunningham, senior services manager for Pasco County.

“When we move to the new location, we will continue to offer a variety of activities, exercise, events, trips, nutritional education and nutrition counseling,” Cunningham wrote in an email to The Laker/Lutz News.

“We are working with other organizations to increase activities and provide more informational programs,” she added.

The Zephyrhills Senior Center has had several locations during its history.

The senior program has also been hosted by First Church of the Nazarene in Zephyrhills and Trinity Church of Wesley Chapel.

From 1993 to 2008, the Zephyrhills Senior Center was located on Airport Road and owned by CARES (Community Aging and Retirement Services) Inc.

Published January 3, 2018

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