Senior Center Ready to Move, Celebrates New Property - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Senior Center Ready to Move, Celebrates New Property

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The Charlottesville Senior Center is kicking off a capital campaign to move out of its cramped space on Pepsi Place and into a brand new facility off Rio Road.  Members, supporters, and donors celebrated the purchase of the property in the Belvedere subdivision off Rio Road Tuesday morning.

The Senior Center bought the property from developers for $2.4 million.  In a few years, the center's 2,000 members will be coming to a three-story, state-of-the-art facility.

"I pass this three times a week and look at it,"  Senior Center member Marge Haugen said of the new site.  "It is lovely."

Chairs mark the footprint of the future Center at Belvedere.  It's a highly anticipated project for Haugen, who's been coming to the Senior Center all 21 years that it's called Pepsi Place home.

"I think it's time we have it, yes.  We really need it so bad," Haugen said. 

Senior Center Executive Director Peter Thompson said, "It's a huge step.  We looked for several years to find a property."

Architects unveiled designs for the 60,000-square-foot facility.  It's three times bigger than the current Senior Center and includes a gym, classrooms, performing arts, and cafe space.

"It'll transform how the center meets the needs of our aging community in keeping thousands and thousands of our seniors healthy and engaged so they can continue to give back in the community," Thompson said.

Now that the property's in place, the Senior Center is kicking off a capital campaign.  "Healthy aging is a community endeavor," said Dawn Heneberry, the capital campaign chair.  

The Center at Belvedere will cost about $20 million to build.

"Generous philanthropists is what it will take, because at this time we receive no federal or state funding, so we need philanthropists to step up and do what it takes to build this new facility," Heneberry said.

Thompson said, "We're running a little bit of a marathon right now, but we've got a great start."

At almost 85, Haugen's ready to wait it out to see these plans rise from the ground.  "I am really looking forward," she said.  "I hope they hurry up and get it built."

The Senior Center hopes to raise the funds for a groundbreaking in 2015.  You can get a look at the plans for the Center at Belvedere at the site off Rio Road during an open house Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon.  Click here for more information. 

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