$6.7M revamped downtown Springfield senior center opens


If you go

What: United Senior Services Grand Opening, including tours, exhibits and demonstrations throughout the day.

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 1

Where: 125 W. Main St.

The new United Senior Services Center in downtown Springfield opened its doors to the public Tuesday after a $6.7 million renovation, drawing hundreds of members to check it out.

Many of the members couldn’t believe the transformation of the old Eagles building, 125 W. Main St., in to the new seniors center.

“It looks really nothing like the original building — there’s lots of windows, lots of light,” United Senior Services Development Director Stephanie Clark said.

The new site will house programs for the more than 4,500 USS members, Clark said.

“It’s a very exciting day,” Clark said of the reveal of the new center to the public.

>>RELATED: Springfield seniors center nears launch of new $6.7M center

>>DETAILS: New era begins for United Senior Services

This new building could spur further development in downtown Springfield, local leaders have said.

The senior services center is the most recent completion of a renovation to an old downtown building or new project announced in the area.

USS bought the property from the Eagles for about $1.5 million and spent about $5.2 million on a massive face-lift. The new space is roughly double the size of the previous USS center on South Fountain Avenue.

A $2.5 million brewery project opened earlier this summer at 109 W. North St., just a few blocks north of the new USS building.

The brewery was once part of the former Metallic Casket Co. campus. The new brewery also includes an outdoor beer garden, and decorations and artwork from Springfield artists throughout the taproom.

>>READ MORE: New Springfield brewery opens downtown

New building in the downtown area is also planned.

The National Trail Parks and Recreation District sold the former Memorial Hall site on West Main Street in June to a property management company. A Wendy’s fast food restaurant has been planned for the site, according to previous Springfield News-Sun reports.

>>MORE INFO: Springfield historic site sold for $775K

The steps for growth and revitalization to downtown the senior center has made, Clark said, hopefully spurs more economic growth in the area.

The space for a larger senior center was needed as the area’s senior population steadily grows and more services are in demand, USS leaders said.

One of the new additions to services at the expanded building is aquatic therapy in the saltwater pool.

“That’s going to be a busy spot for the center — a lot of people are looking forward to using that pool,” said Larry Todd, a USS ambassador who’s been a member for more than 15 years.

But the new building does have some old features many USS members are excited to see.

The old dance floor from the Eagle’s building was salvaged and re-used in a multi-purpose room, USS Executive Director Maureen Fagans said.

Pieces of the historic Memorial Hall, including the wood ticket booth and original stained-glass windows, also fill one of the conference rooms.

The official grand opening of the seniors center will be held Sept. 1, beginning at 10 a.m.

USS is also offering a two-month free membership for any new members from now until Oct. 1, Fagans said.

“We’re inviting people to come take a look,” she said.