‘Brighter outlook’ at Minneota Senior Center

A leaky roof several years ago that left unsightly stains in the ceiling tiles of the Minneota Senior Center have been replaced by a new one.

David and Joanne Myrvik, along with Mike Luke, took on the task of replacing hundreds of ceiling tiles, giving the center a much cleaner and brighter appearance.

“We started on New Year's Eve,” Senior Center Director Joanne Myrvik said. “We figured that was a good time to do because people had other things to do and wouldn't be using the senior center.”

It turned out to be a bigger project than expected because of the insulation above the tiles. The Minneota Senior Center has been in operation in its current location since an Open House and Dedication ceremony on April 3, 1992.

“Previously, the Senior Center was in the basement of Legion building for 22 years,” Myrvik said.

“It was cold and damp down there so it was much better when we moved in here.” The current senior center building was originally the men's department of The Big Store when it was in operation.

In December of 1990, the Minneota City Council announced that they had purchased the building from Virgil Gislason Jr., with the intent of making it into a Minneota Senior Citizens Center.

At that time, members of the senior center immediately began raising funds for a renovation project of the newly-purchased building.

Although the structure was in good condition, there were numerous changes that needed to be done internally to make it accessible to all seniors.

Grants were obtained from the Southwest Regional Development Commission for $18,720, from the Southwest Minnesota Initiative Fund for $6,150, and from the MARDAG Foundation for $4,000.

Private and organizational donations totaled another $11,500; for a grand total of $40,370.

Renovations included new wall texturing, new lighting, new flooring, a new ceiling, and a kitchen area that included appliances and a sink. Bathrooms and entrances were made handicapped accessible.

Much of the work was done on a volunteer basis, allowing the total renovation project to come in just under $40,000.

Today, the senior center is used as a gathering place for games, activities, events, meals, social time, and more.

Yearly dues to join are only $10; with the funds going for bills and maintenance of the building. Among the things offered at the senior center are exercise classes, bingo, quilting, coffee and snacks, card games and Mahjong.

“Mahjong is popular with the younger seniors,” Myrvik said about the tile matching puzzle game.

A noon meal, served by the Minneota Manor, is available three days a week for $4 at the senior center. The senior center has been used during Boxelder Bug Days for a BBQ lunch and bake sale, as well as other community events.

“I really enjoy it here,” Myrvik.

“It's not about the food or other things. It's about the social time. That's the most important. Who wants to stay home and stare at four walls?” The senior center members also collect eyeglasses and hearing aids for the Lions Club.

Myrvik became the director on Aug. 1, 1992. She is currently one of five board members.

“We all work so well together,” Myrvik stated. “When I asked the others that use this place what they felt the next project should be, they all said the ceiling.They were so stained before we got the new tiles in.”

Myrvik is unsure of the next improvement project the senior center will undertake.

“I don't want to put the cart before the horse,” she said. “We just want to take things one step at a time.”

Myrvik insists that decisions are not made by one person.

“I tell the seniors that this isn't Joanne's Senior Center; it's your senior center,” she laughed.

“And they can do anything they want as long as it's not illegal or immoral.”

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