Little Rock Senior Center set to close

In just over three weeks a popular senior center in Little Rock is set to close.

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - With a growing elderly population, it doesn't make seem to make sense that one of Little Rock's only centers dedicated to seniors is closing.

But the operator says it no longer makes financial sense to keep it open.

Eighteen months ago, Care Link purchased the old YWCA off of 12th street and turned it into a center dedicated to the over 50 crowd.

And seniors have turned the building into a fountain of youth.

Many of the women enrolled in this dance/cardio/strength class are in their mid-70's.

Michael Washington has been bringing hip-hop to their hips for seven years.

Last month, he and all the Care Link Fitness and Wellness Center members were informed that the center is closing.

"It broke my heart,” says Washington. “It really broke my heart. Because one, I'm out of a job for now. And two, you know I hate to see all the people I've helped out for years have to go somewhere else. You know I love to help them. I wish they could stay. I wish I could stay with them."

No one pays much attention to age here.

Other numbers are more important - like weight, blood sugar and blood pressure.

But there are yet other numbers that can no longer be ignored.

"It's been very apparent in recent months that the cost to operate the facility was much more than what it was generating in revenue," says Michelle Gilbert, Marketing and Outreach Manager for Care Link.

As a non-profit, Care Link also supports Meals-on-Wheels and other programs for home-bound seniors. Continued operation of the senior center could put those programs at risk, so the facility is for sale.

"If someone has the finances please, please don't close it,” implores member Sherry Shelton. “We need you, we need it. Not only me but there are other ladies that need it."

"Seniors - a lot of us would be home on the couch doing nothing, but because we have this avenue, we're better physically, mentally and socially," adds member Dorothy Williams.

"And we all just love this place so much,” says member Mary Johnson. “And you know love conquers all. And so…I hope that the public, if they are able, if there is a philanthropist or whoever could do it, if they would, just please help us."

Unless the prayers of these seniors are answered, the facility's last day of operation will be June 30th.

Care Link is working on a schedule featuring churches and community centers where exercise classes can continue in the event no buyer comes forward in the next few weeks.

Air date: June 7th, 2018

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