Two and a half years after Syracuse Mayor Miner abruptly closed the Ida Benderson Senior Center downtown, one insider says many of those seniors have now become shut-ins and consider themselves social outcasts.
Supporter Denise Nepveux says many of the seniors who used to visit the center daily now stay home and don't want to make visits downtown because they have nowhere to rest and nowhere to go to the bathroom.
Nepveux says, "Our former members are isolated with nowhere to go. They have difficulty navigating downtown without access to a place to rest and go to the restroom. A few of the seniors are now attending the Salvation Army Center, as the mayor had planned, but the center is not a good fit for them and they don't feel comfortable there."
Nepveux says the mayor closed down the senior center in 2011 with little warning for seniors and claimed the city couldn't afford to keep the place open and she says the closing had a devastating effect on everyone involved.
Nepveux says there's now an effort afoot to open a new senior center downtown, but they face hurdles. They could easily find a storefront downtown, but would need funding to sustain the facility for a long period.
Seniors are being invited to a meeting tomorrow at Plymouth Church in Syracuse to discuss the possibility and other issues facing them since the senior center closed in 2011. That meeting begins at 10am.