Clare County Commissioners Close Doors Of Senior Center

“It’s terribly disappointing to think that it might be discontinued,” says Diana Schreer, who has been going to the Lake Senior Center for years.

After three decades of serving meals to seniors, it is a senior center that has no choice but to shut its doors.

Clare County commissioners voted that the last day of the Lake Senior Center will be this Friday.

The county’s Senior Service director says the building is old and in desperate need of an upgrade.

The seniors who go there say that’s not true.

The Lake Senior Center has been serving meals to seniors since 1987.

On Friday, Feb. 2, they’ll serve their last.

“We sent a letter, stating that because our rent is paid up through February, we would not be leasing their building anymore,” says Lori Phelps, executive director for Clare County Senior Services and Council on Aging.

Phelps says the center is in dire need of an upgrade.

“The building is old and however grateful we are that we’ve been able to lease the space from the DAV (Disabled American Veterans), it hasn’t been kept up to the standards we would like to see,” Phelps says.

Those who go there — like Joyce Minch — say that’s simply not true.

“I’ve been coming here for 30 years, I’ve never seen one mouse,” Minch says. “It’s as clean as can be.”

Commissioners say photos showed some clutter coming from the DAV store inside the building into the hallways of the former school building.

That clutter has since been cleaned up.

Also, Garfield Township fire chief Kevin Tubbs says the building is routinely inspected on a bi-annual basis and always passes.

“I would consider this a safe place wholeheartedly,” Tubbs says. “My parents have attended for many years and no problems, whatsoever, with anybody being here.”

For Joyce and others like Diana Schreer, memories of camaraderie at the building fill photo albums.

“We won’t have any place else in lake to get together and work puzzles and play games,” Minch says. “It gives a reason to get up in the morning.”

Phelps says the seniors will still get Meals-on-Wheels and have options to get a bus to three other locations in Harrison, Lake George and Clare.

However, many seniors say that’s too far, and they’ll miss this place.

“It was a very difficult decision because we want the (average of) eight seniors to still be able to have that congregate fellowship,” Phelps says. “That is why we are offering to bus them to another center.”

“When you get up in the morning and you have someplace to go, you get dressed, you put your earrings on, you put some makeup on, you go and you feel better,” Schreer says.

Phelps also says this will save senior services $12,000 a year, and the board is “actively looking for a new location.”