Midland Seniors Want New West Side Senior Citizen Center

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Several seniors in Midland said their senior citizen center is in bad shape and they want something done about it.

An old building and cramped quarters are just some of their concerns.

NewsWest 9 spoke with a group of seniors who said they're going as far as Andrews to enjoy a senior center. They said they just want a place they can go to that's welcoming on the outside and comfortable on the inside. But they said no one seems to be listening.

Drive by Midkiff and West Illinois Ave. in Midland and you might miss it.

It happened to senior Joe LaRocha the first time he visited the west side senior center.

"Nobody knows where it's situated including these stores in front of the building," LaRocha said. "I asked them, they don't know where it's at."

This is just one of many issues that has a group senior center members frustrated.

"Really a mall is not the place for a center," senior Normal Seals said.

The center is located in the back part of a strip mall.

Members tell NewsWest 9 the outside appearance is rundown, uninviting and hard to find.

"You come up here at night, it's dark, it's real dark up here at night," senior Jack Seals said.

But Kat Copeland said the problems are inside too.

"Many times when we have dances, we suffocate because there is no air conditioning cut on," Copeland said.

Other concerns include a cramped cafeteria for those dances and a small computer and pool room.

"The rooms are very small and congested," Copeland said "We're out in the hallways, that's where some of the activities are."

She said she's written a letter to the editor that was published in the Midland Reporter-Telegram. They've also contacted city council members, addressed them at meetings and even brought forth a petition.

Copeland said they were given a letter from Mayor Wes Perry suggesting they try a church or the MLK Center for more space.

"I see these monies spent for other entities while we're left on the back burner," Copeland said.

District Four Councilman Michael Trost said he is concerned.

"I think it's too small right now, we've got a lot more seniors going there than we used to," Trost said.

Trost says $250,000 was already invested into the center a few years back and there is a process when it comes to figuring out funding.

"But it's not impossible and it's not unreasonable and it can be done," Trost said. "I, as Councilman of district four in which the west side senior center is in, need to make more visits over there and talk to those folks and get to know them better."

And these seniors said that's a start to reaching what they want.

"I'd like to see them work with the seniors and get them something that they could enjoy," Seals said.