East Windsor has been awarded a $400,000 state grant toward the expansion of the East Windsor Senior Center on Lanning Boulevard, according to Mayor Janice S. Mironov.
East Windsor is one of 22 towns that received a Small Cities Community Development Block Grant in the latest round. The grant program is administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.
The township will use the money to help pay for an expansion to the 11,000-square-foot senior center. The plan calls for an approximately 5,000-square-foot expansion to the rear of the building, and a 785-square-foot addition to the north side of the building.
The expansion is needed because of the increased growth in senior citizen membership, Mironov said. It will allow the center to offer more classes, programs and special events for the growing number of senior citizens who frequent the center.
The center serves as a major focal point in the community, she said.
“The senior center offers our senior citizens a great place to engage in a variety of recreational, educational and health-related programs and activities, as well as (a place) to hang out and socialize,” the mayor said.
The $400,000 state grant will supplement a $1 million grant from the Mercer at Play grant program that is administered through Mercer County, she said.
East Windsor’s original senior center was in a small house on Dutch Neck Road near the Lee Turkey Farm, Mironov said. Everyone was together in the one-room building, whether they were playing card games or engaged in other activities.
But the burgeoning senior citizen population was outgrowing the building.
The chief executive officer of Springpoint Senior Living, the successor company to Presbyterian Homes of New Jersey, agreed to donate land to East Windsor for a new senior citizens center. The company operates the Meadow Lakes continuing care retirement community in the township.
The chief executive officer made it clear that the company was not going to pay for the building, so township officials set out to search for grants.
The township identified a series of grants from Mercer County, the state and the federal government. The rest of the money to pay for the facility was raised privately.
Ground was broken and the building was constructed. The East Windsor Senior Center opened its doors in 2003, Mironov said.