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New Sharon Senior Center to Reopen in June

Terry Smith at the New Sharon Senior Center in Hazel Green in Madison County.

Terry Smith has a lot of ideas for the New Sharon Senior Center in Hazel Green. But what she really wants is to hear from those who will be visiting once it reopens in June.

“Whoever comes, I want to hear what they want to get out of their center,” said Terry, who was hired as the center’s nutrition manager in February.

Rosalyn Leavell-Rice, nutrition coordinator for Studio 60, also oversees all nutrition programs in Madison County. She said since the New Sharon center closed November 2023, it has been undergoing renovations. She said one of the key components to reopening the center was hiring Terry to manage it.

Terry has already started listening as she’s called all the former participants. She’s also called others in the surrounding area of Meridianville. She said she’s talked to several people who have never been to or even heard of the center and she’s invited them to consider coming after it reopens on Friday, June 7.

“I had to leave a message for a lot of them but often when they heard my message, they called me back and were so excited asking when it is going to be open,” Terry said.

She’s had a few people who have volunteered to help her get things ready for the reopening.

Carolyn Franklin, a former New Sharon Senior Center participant, has already met Terry and has been volunteering over the past several weeks to help her get the center in order. She’s also recruited a few other volunteers to help.

“Me and the people I talk to are very excited about the center reopening,” Carolyn said. “We want it to hurry up and open.”

Carolyn said the center, which is in what used to be the old New Sharon School lunchroom, looks 100 percent better than when it closed last year.

The center has been freshly painted, cleaned and buffed floors, and renovated bathrooms with grab bars and higher toilet seats.

“We’ve helped her put up new blinds, washed and cleaned everything in the kitchen and we’ve rearranged the tables, Carolyn said. “It’s looking really good in there and it’s a nice place for seniors to come. It feels more like home.”

She said they’re impressed with Terry too.

“Terry is easy to talk to,” Carolyn said. “She listens and we can suggest something to her, and she takes it into consideration. She’s one of us.”

Terry said she’s loved getting to know Carolyn and working with all the volunteers who have helped get their center ready to reopen.

“I’m excited to be here and look forward to their ideas,” Terry said. “Mainly, I want everyone to feel free to be themselves and we will work together to figure out what the center will become to meet the needs of the community.”