In a ceremonial groundbreaking – minus the shovels and hardhats – Mayor Janice Mironov and the East Windsor Township Council launched the long-awaited expansion of the East Windsor Senior Center at the end of Lannigan Boulevard.
The East Windsor Township Council awarded a $2.59 million contract to Develop Builders of New Milford for the project earlier this year. The winning contractor was one of eight bidders for the job.
The project calls for two additions to the 11,000-square-foot senior center – one that adds 5,250 square feet to the multipurpose room at the rear of the senior center, and a smaller 785-square-foot addition on the north side of the building for an exercise room.
Work on the two additions began in November and is expected to be completed in 2021.
The expansions are needed because of the increased growth in membership, Mironov said. The senior center will be able to offer more classes, programs and special events for the growing number of senior citizens who frequent the center.
The center serves as the focal point for the senior citizen community, Mironov said.
“The senior center offers our senior citizens a great place to engage in a variety of educational, recreational and health-related programs and activities, as well as a place to hang out and socialize,” she said.
The expansion is being funded by a $1 million grant from the Mercer at Play program that is administered through Mercer County, and a $400,000 state grant through the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant program administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.
East Windsor’s original senior center was located in a small house on Dutch Neck Road, near the Lee Turkey Farm, Mironov said. Everyone gathered 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.
At the time, the chief executive officer of Springpoint Senior Living, which was rebranded from Presbyterian Homes of New Jersey, agreed to donate land to East Windsor for a senior citizen 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 grants that were available 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.