Oswegoland Senior and Community Center has a new name and a new home – Shaw Local
Officials at Oswegoland Senior and Community Center, formerly Oswego Seniors, Inc., are excited to move into their new location, the former Oswego Police Station on Route 34, across from Fox Bend Golf Course.
OSCC will be the first tenant of the building for almost four years.
David Barriball, Executive Director of the OSCC, said he finds it particularly rewarding for the organization to acquire the building and turn it into a place that will once again serve the community.
The center is hosting a housewarming party at the new facility on April 8 and plans to run all programs onsite by March 1.
Wallace Hamlin, Chairman of the OSCC Board, believes the building is nearly perfect for their needs and will allow the center to grow.
Hamlin said the name was changed to better reflect the group’s mission. While the OSCC’s target population will continue to be the senior community, they also want to reach out to the rest of the community, so that other Oswego organizations and groups can benefit from the facility, according to Hamlin.
Barriball said part of the reason for the rebranding was an effort to reach a younger demographic. He said the extra space made them realize they wanted to expand their participation to include young seniors, as well as family and youth programs.
“People don’t feel like seniors anymore when they hit 60,” Barriball said, “We’re doing our best to expand attendance to younger audiences.”
Barriball said the center started as a lunch group at the Church of the Good Shepherd in downtown Oswego in 2007, which had room for 100 people. As the group grew, they moved to the old Traugher High School on Franklin Street, where they operated until 2020, when the school district asked them to vacate.
“During the pandemic,” Barriball said, “the center has been kind of homeless.”
The Township of Oswego let the center use its former storefront location on Templeton Drive for most of 2021, before selling the building in August. This forced the OSCC to relocate back to the Brethren’s Church in Boulder Hill, where they manage operations, but have outsourced events and programs to local banks, libraries and senior centers.
The new facility allows for more than 10 times the programming they currently run, according to Barriball.
The two-story, 24,000 square foot building at 3525 US Rt. 34 was built by the village as a police station in 1991, but has been vacant since the OPD moved to a new, more spacious location on Woolley Road in late 2018. In November 2019, the Village Council approved the sale of the building to Property Concepts Inc., who sold it to Oswego Seniors, Inc. on January 14.
Barriball said he believed God had taken care of the organization by allowing them to purchase the new facility.
“Now that we own the place,” he said, “we’re permanent.”
The building has been vacant since late 2018 and needs a fresh coat of paint and new carpeting, but Barriball said the current floor plan suits their needs very well.
Barriball said as they expand they will need to remove some walls to add space, but renovations will be mostly cosmetic by opening day.
“We are working to take this once beautiful building and return it to a very attractive place,” Hamlin said.
There are plans for the addition of an elevator and a new kitchen in the near future, but nothing concrete. Barriball said while both floors have ground-floor entrances, an elevator would allow easier access between floors for less mobile seniors, and a new kitchen would allow seniors’ lunch programs to return. .
“We are doing our best to broaden our participation to a younger audience.
Hamlin said he believes the OSCC will experience tremendous growth in the coming years for three reasons: there are many pre-pandemic attendees eager to return now that there will be ample space; OSCC will implement intergenerational services to include all groups and incorporate other community organizations; and with their new location, the center will have much better visibility.
In 2019, while operating out of Traughber Junior High School, the center saw approximately 30,000 double attendees (each person was counted at each entry). Last year, the center saw less than 7,000 doubles participants.
Barriball is convinced that the new location will change things.
“We can definitely replicate what we did in 2019 and surpass those numbers,” Barriball said, “as long as we get the lineup in place.”
The center is expanding to serve intergenerational programming. “We bring the wisdom of active older people to young people, and vice versa,” Hamlin said, “We also seek to provide a safe and secure base for other community groups to have programs on.”
Hamlin said there will be educational opportunities of all kinds, including personal health, mental health, financial health and family health. “We really want to emphasize our role as a center for lifelong learning,” he said.
The new center has abundant space and several rooms that the center intends to rent, including a theater hall and conference rooms.