CSET Reopens Woodlake Senior Center
Last updated 5/25/2023 at 11:02am | View PDF
Grace Villarreal looked around the new Woodlake Senior Center and smiled.
"I kept asking when it was going to reopen," she said. "I like the dancing for exercise, and the art."
On March 27, Villarreal and a couple of dozen other Woodlake seniors came to the new Woodlake Senior Center at 145 N. Magnolia St. for a grand reopening by Community Services Employment Training (CSET), which manages the center and seven others in Tulare County. Many in attendance had been regulars at the Woodlake Senior Center at one of its two previous locations in town. But while the new center has amenities the other locations did not offer, it is a somewhat smaller space and one that is shared with the Woodlake Boys and Girls Club. The youngsters take over the building at 2 pm once the older crowd's day is finished.
"I loved the painting," said Gloria Ramirez, who like Villarreal was one of the regulars in attendance before COVID closed the centers in March 2023. "I'm looking forward to painting again, and bingo, and dance for exercise."
Seniors will get the opportunity to do all that and more with the expanded hours now offered. Stacy Dirker, the new senior site lead for CSET who manages the center, said the hours will be from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm Monday through Friday. Previously the center was not open on Thursdays.
"We're going to do bingo, cards, board games, arts and crafts, storytelling, and painting," said Dirker, who was excited about the day's attendance. Additionally, the center will offer lunch on weekdays at noon.
"Our intent (for the center) is to get it past where it was before," said Mary Alice Escarsega-Fechner, Executive Director of CSET who was on hand for the event. "The old building didn't have the creature comforts we all like."
While details were not available at press time, CSET plans to reopen the remaining closed senior centers in Lindsay, Exeter and Goshen in the next few months, according to Jerel Dutton, CSET's Assistant Director for Senior Services. But Villarreal is just happy the Woodlake Center is open again. "We were getting kinda bored," she said of the closure that lasted three years. "We even started going to the Visalia Senior Center just to have something to do.