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North Charleston Coordinator Wants To Share The JOY With Seniors
9/3/2014 4:08:26 PM

North Charleston Senior Coordinator Belinda Swindler with North Charleston Senior Recreation Board Member Wesley Cutler at Felix Davis Community Center Tuesday.
By Barney Blakeney

Senior citizens advocate Wesley Cutler recently was appointed to North Charleston Senior Recreation Board. The board is charged with developing policies and options for the city’s senior population.

Cutler, who attended his first board meeting last week, has hit the ground running.

Cutler said he was recruited for the seven-member senior recreation board because of his work advocating for seniors at the state and community levels. And while he’s enthused about North Charleston’s efforts to address the recreation needs of its senior citizens, he’s a little disappointed at the level of participation from residents.

Cutler attended his first board meeting at Wescott Park located at 9006 Dorchester Rd. The facility is a new, modern one that offers many amenities. Cutler however, feels it like many others, may be underutilized. Because of its location at the extreme northern end of the city beyond Ashley Phosphate Road, he thinks many seniors are unable to get to the facility.

North Charleston Senior Coordinator Belinda Swindler says most seniors go to centers in their respective communities. And while she hopes more seniors will participate in the activities offered at community centers in their neighborhoods, the current level of participation is good. Cutler says that many of the city’s seniors are unaware of what’s available.

Swindler, who considers herself the city’s ‘JOY” (Just Older Youth) coordinator, gave a snippet of some of the activities held regularly. She coordinates activities for citizens 55 and older.

Activities and events are offered at community centers around the city such as Wescott Park, the Gethsemene Community Center in Union Heights and the Perry-Webb Community Center in Accabee, but many are centralized at the Park Circle Community Center.

The city doesn’t provide transportation, but participants can use CARTA’s buses and Teleride service or carpool to participate at Park Circle in Monday morning line dancing classes, North Charleston’s monthly Red Hat Angels meeting every second Monday, Seniorcise aerobics each Tuesday and Thursday and the Walk the Circle Club for those who enjoy walking.

Most of the activities are free, but the water aerobics Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at the recently heated and covered Danny Jones Swimming Pool costs $20 per month. Across the street from the pool at the Armory Park on Lackawanna Boulevard there’s table tennis.

And can you say BINGO!? A gamer’s played during a light lunch at Park Circle on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. And yes, there’s ceramics at the Ferndale Community complex on Iron Street. Classes are held daily 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and Tuesday evenings 5 p.m.-7 p.m.

The city hopes to expand its services to seniors. In the near future it plans to construct two new senior centers, one on Dorchester Road near Michaux Parkway and the other in the Northwoods area. Each will have multipurpose rooms, an exercise room, a therapy pool, and kitchen.

Swindler invites citizens to visit their community centers and to participate in the activities. For information call her at (843) 745-1028.

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