With Kulick Center Closed, Ferndale Seniors Move & Invite New Members
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 1, 2021)
Ferndale, MI – You can’t keep a good group down. And the Ferndale Seniors have been proving that, as the group for the most mature members of the community has stayed together through the pandemic, through the losses of good friends, and through the closure of the Kulick Community Center where they’ve been coming together for years.
The group met in July for their annual ice cream social in the parking lot of the Kulick Center. There they had snacks, got an update from Ferndale Mayor Melanie Piana, and also had a book swap. The gathering was held outside in the parking lot, under the shade of the property’s large trees.
At that time they anticipated resuming inside meetings at the center soon, but nature had different ideas.
City Manager Joe Gacioch told Oakland County Times “The rainfall that occurred with the storm several weekends ago caused some damage to the roof over the boiler room at the Kulick Community Center. A large amount of water infiltrated the ceiling and/or the wall in front of the stairs that lead down from the front entrance to the boiler room. The water caused the ceiling under the roof to partially collapse.
“We are reviewing the damage and potential repair possibilities with our insurance adjuster from MMRMA. Assuring safety of the structure is the most important task. The Kulick Center was constructed in 1919 and was last modified to accommodate a community recreation center around 2000. For safety purposes, we have shut off power at the Kulick Center, it will remain closed until further notice. We are exploring alternative temporary meeting spaces for some of our community groups that were hoping to meet at the Kulick Center this fall.”
Affirmations Community Center hosted the seniors for their August meeting, but the group needed kitchen space for luncheons and potlucks, as well as a bigger space.
Hazel Park Parks and Recreation Director Sareen Papakhian, said in a press release about the move “Hazel Park is really happy to make our community center available to Ferndale seniors during this time. We welcome our neighbors to come over, congregate, have coffee, or play cards. Upon hearing of the Kulick Center’s closure for maintenance, we moved immediately to make accommodations for the group” Specifically, Hazel Park has dedicated a meeting room for use to Ferndale at no charge.
“We are happy to have found a permanent/ temporary home and are hoping to get some HP residents to join our group,” said Ferndale Seniors member Peggy Snow.
Jeannie Davis has been President of the Ferndale Seniors for over 12 years. “Our seniors are so resilient,” she said. Among the activities the group enjoys are bus trips to local destinations and restaurants, classes, educational speakers, luncheons and more. They also keep in touch with resources, with members calling each other to check in through the pandemic. For now they are just sticking to meetings, with hopes of bringing back the other fun once things get more stable.
“I enjoy seeing our members enjoy themselves. I love it when they “stretch” and do things they didn’t think they could do. Like line dancing, going the distance at the Riverwalk, or learning a new craft,” Davis said.
In spite of their resiliency, Davis worries about the changes. “It is estimated that we will be out of a permanent building for a least a year,” she said. “My biggest concern is that meeting like carpet baggers will cause us to lose members.” The City of Hazel Park has also been helping to promote the group however, so it can also be an opportunity for growth.
Joyce Littlejohn has also been a longtime member. “When I retired I needed something to do,” she told Oakland County Times. “I’m a senior and I like senior activities. It’s a fun group. It keeps me in contact with friends and you get to be like family.” During the COVID closures, Littlejohn was among those who made phone calls to check up on others. “We want people to know they aren’t alone.
Ferndale Seniors meet every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month from 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The first meeting is Sept. 8 and older adults don’t need to be from Ferndale to join. Members are age 55 and up. The Hazel Park Recreation Center is located at 620 W. Woodward Heights in Hazel Park.
Learn more about the Ferndale Seniors by joining the Ferndale Senior Facebook Group.