HISTORY

The Alexandria Senior Center's mission was adopted in 1980 at the time of incorporation and obtaining its non-profit status.  It states: It is the mission of the Alexandria Senor Center to provide all seniors in Douglas County with daily nutrition, educational opportunities, occasions for socialization and the good fortune to give of themselves through volunteering while sharing their life experiences.
 

This mission remains the purpose today.

The geographic location of the primary service area of the Center is located at 414 Hawthorne St., Alexandria, MN  56308.  It occupies 37% of the structure under a condominium agreement with the balance of the building being occupied by Towne Square Apartments for elderly over 55.  This was one of the first housing units available to the over 55 and is subsidized for those who qualify.

The Senior Center's situation is very unique.  The building was built and is owned by the Senior Citizens of Alexandria in 1984.  In most communities the program for seniors would be housed and services paid for by the City in which it is located.  When the club was first formed, a rental facility was found.  Plans were then developed to build and own a proper facility to meet all phases of the needs as the seniors viewed them.  At the time of its completion in 1984 it was cited nationwide by the Older Americans Act for it vision and joint efforts.  The other eleven clubs in Douglas County all contributed to the cost of the building for it to serve as the "home base" for all senior offerings. The County contributed $43,000 of Revenue Sharing funds.  Upon its completion and move from the rental facility, the City of Alexandria donated for the first time the sum of $10,000 annually under an agreement that the Center provide recreation for the over 65 population of the City.

Thus, the primary funding for the organization is currently provided by membership dues, rentals and special fundraisers.  Along with the City of Alexandria, some (3) townships continue to award funds to help defray the Center's operational costs.

Some of the initial community members, who were significant in the organization's formation, included Kathryn LeBrasseur, who was the Douglas County Senior Citizen's Director, and was ex-officio member of the Board of Directors and the County Committee on Aging.  Much of the need for the Center as a Home Base was created and identified by the Clubs of the County the (CCOA).  Each senior club had a fund raiser to help build the facility and in early years conducted much of their own monthly fund raising there due to the ability to draw larger crowds on a routine basis.

 

Another dedicated community member who played a big part in the formation of the Senior Center was Pearl Kaufman.   She was the President of the Alexandria Board most of those early years.  The Center was often referred to as “the House that Pearl built.”  In the role of Board President she performed many functions of a director.  Especially the years that the Center was located at the Alexson Hotel.  The role of leadership of all activities was performed by volunteers and the Center often had a 3-month CEP employee serving as activity coordinator. 

 

Executive Directors have come and gone throughout the years of operations and are listed below:

Executive Directors (past to present)

Paul Teeuwan 1984-1985

Carolyn Ahlquist  1985-1986

 

Donna Schedin 1986-1989
 

Joan Phillips  1991-1996

Shirley Peterson  1996-2001

 

Ann Esterberg  2001-2013

 

Marcia Gae Schmitt 2013-2016
 

Bernice Wimmer  2014-2016
 

Marcia Gae Schmitt  2016-2018
                                                           Coni McKay (Co-Director) 2017

 

Carol Strong  2018-2019
 

Nancy Haggenmiller  2019-Present

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