Things are booming in a pristine building off of FM 2499 in Flower Mound where active adults 50 and over pursue leisure, recreation, education and new friendships. Most of all, they have fun!
In the first five months following the opening Flower Mound’s new Senior Center, the consensus seems to be, ‘So far, so good.’
The new facility flung wide its doors after great anticipation in May, following decades of planning and physical relocations for the town’s senior resident’s group, Seniors In Motion.
“It’s an amazing building,” said Doug Brown, founding member and current SIM Board member.
The permanent facility is a far cry from where town seniors first met to create a plan for such a center.
In the 1990s, Shirley Voirin— a Pittsburgh native who moved to town in 1986 to be near her daughter—approached the town council about the feasibility of a senior center. Limited resources back then made it impossible, but Voirin never gave up. She continued to do more demographic research and stayed in contact with town officials.
In 2004, she and about 12 other seniors formed a board that laid the groundwork for the present SIM program. When Jody Smith was elected the town’s mayor that year, she became a champion of the seniors’ cause.
Smith held a meeting at her home and began to plant the idea of a formal seniors group with a place they could call their own. Other council members got on board and the process began.
The following year, SIM was organized as part of the parks and recreation department and the town entered into an agreement with Flower Mound Community Church at 3415 Cross Timbers Road to rent a portion of its facilities for the growing senior group.
During the next three years, word-of-mouth saw group membership outgrow that location and it subsequently moved into a dedicated section, named the “Golden Lounge,” of the town’s Community Activity Center in 2008.
“It was originally envisioned that a senior center annex with a large patio area, which could be rented out for weddings or other special events to the public, would be built on the adjoining acreage, but the financing wasn’t available,” said Denis Toth, SIM founding member and past president.
When CAC total membership expanded, the seniors’ area was needed to accommodate the general membership programs. SIM members—now numbering in the hundreds—was once again relocated to a 4,000-square-foot facility at the intersection of Cross Timbers and Morriss Road next to town hall. Unfortunately, that facility was physically unable to house the many SIM activities simultaneously.
“Our biggest complaint was trying to do three things in one room,” said Toth. “There were activities going on in different areas of one big room, some needing quiet and others needing to fill the entire space. It just wasn’t filling our needs.”
He added that creating a permanent home was an uphill battle, with different town councils having different priorities.
“We kept banging into walls—political and financial,” said Toth. “My position became: ‘I don’t care where it was, but when; just let’s get this done now.’”
Former council member Jean Levenick—who served as emcee for the center’s May 15 grand opening ceremony—was a major inspiration for the new facility. At the time, SIM membership stood at 938. By the end of this September it has grown to 1,500 members.
“Jean and the other council members with [Mayor] Tom Hayden and [Town Manager] Jimmie Stathatos were involved in using the $5 million TIRZ [Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone] funds for the center’s location on the available acreage within the zone,” Toth said.
And he’s pleased with what he’s seen so far. The programs have expanded, with something for everyone. People from Lewisville and Highland Village—both of which have existing senior centers—have chosen to come to Flower Mound.
“The day will start out with around 30 or so of us around 9 a.m. using the workout room, then more than 100 for lunch and—depending on what’s being offered program-wise—there could be 200 or more seniors who’ve used the building on any given day,” Toth said.
SIM will hold its annual Craft Fair this Saturday, October 17, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., where area residents can shop handmade jewelry, pottery, clothing, home décor, and more. There will also be door prizes, a kids craft area, concessions and raffles. Admission is free.
The $5 million, 22,000-square-foot building includes a fitness room, library, computer room, patio, activity and game rooms, a billiard room and a ballroom named after Shirley Voirin.
Brown echoes Toth’s success assessment for the new center.
“Our difficulty is now meeting the growing program demands,” he said. “Our lunches started out as once-a-week using the church’s kitchen to cook for a dozen or so of us, to now serving well over 100 people daily. We have two rooms for games and a nice work-out room.”
Recent outings included trips to Southfork Ranch and Winstar Casino.
The center even held a “Water War” in late August where two teams were given water balloons, water guns and super soakers in order to drench the other team.
The annual membership fee is $10 for Flower Mound residents and $20 for non-residents.
The facility is located at 2701 West Windsor Drive west of FM 2499.