About the Colony

Senior services grow up

In the late 1950s or very early 1960s a group of local senior citizens built themselves a building on a lot near Atascadero Lake. The AARP Building (Atascadero Association of Retired People) has been a fixture on that site ever since, even as the city of Atascadero has made improvements all around it.

Then in the 1970s, Ed Hagen and some other senior citizens worked to establish another center to provide services to senior citizens in a single-family house on East Mall, almost across the street from the City Administration Building. The home was owned for many years by Ralph Fullwiler. Federal revenue-sharing funds were used to help with the purchase of the Fullwiler home, which became the headquarters for Senior Citizens, United.

From that house a steady stream of programs has sprung for seniors, from noontime meals to wood-carving classes. Today the home-delivered meals are distributed by a cadre of volunteer drivers. Seniors could stop in for information about many subjects and even get help preparing their tax returns.

A relatively new program that has grown from the East Mall location has moved to new quarters, namely, the city’s Colony Park Community Center on Traffic Way. It is called the Atascadero Fun Club and is sponsored by the city recreation department.

The center features activities aimed at individuals 50 and older, including senior line dancing, billiards, board games, walking groups and even a philosophical and current events discussion group. This is a good use of the complex, which sits empty and quiet all day until school gets out.

“Then the place turns into a teen center,” said Jennifer Fanning, who is in charge of the complex.

Next week, the Fun Club is sponsoring a bus trip to the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez for only five bucks a person. For obvious reasons, the bus is already filled.

This Saturday, the Fun Club is holding an open house at the Traffic Way site from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Ann Fletcher, who heads up the senior program, said there will be refreshments, vendors, drawings for prizes and live music provided by the Wild River Ramblers. A group called Teens at Work will be there selling some of the unique jewelry they make themselves.

Fletcher said the Fun Club began at the original Hagen Center but on Sept. 1 moved over to the city’s community center where there is more room. “We want to make this work for our local seniors,” she said. Fletcher, and a volunteer, Maxine Richardson, point out that with the growing crop of baby boomers there is a rapidly growing need to provide activities for them to enjoy.

For more about the open house, call 674-7092.

Reach Lon Allan at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.