ARC senior center in Normal to open new greenspace
Normal Township Activity and Recreation Center (ARC) is expanding upon its Willow Street location to include a new outdoor Greenspace. The new space at the senior center is set for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 20.
“I call the ARC 40,000 square feet of fun because we have a lot of different activities,” said Jess Ray, Normal Township supervisor. “This actually increases our programming space, so it gives us the opportunity to do some things we haven’t been able to do in the past.”
The programming will include lawn games, exercise and gardening, plus more seating space that extends the often-crowded Bonnie’s Cafe inside the ARC.
Another possibility is non-ARC members being allowed to take advantage of the Greenspace. Because the Greenspace is outdoors, passersby can visit and experience the space in a way that isn’t available with indoor facilities that are only open to members.
“Normal Township is committed to providing positive things for the community, so that’s something we’re very proud to be able to help do,” said Ray.
With that comes the possibility that more people become aware of the ARC and decide to become a member. That would fit with current trends, as they are seeing a 20% increase in membership compared to last year.
Illinois State University’s Mennonite College of Nursing has teamed up with the ARC, giving students more opportunities to learn about caregiving.
“We are a clinical site for them, so that’s a great educational opportunity for the students and a good partnership for us,” said Ray.
The Greenspace ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at the Willow Street location at 11 a.m. June 20.
The Illinois Prairie Community Foundation awarded Normal Township the Go Green Frautschi/Bedell Grant. They used that money to purchase plants for the space. The ARC also got help from the Central Illinois Woodworkers Club, contractor Larry Oleson, the Bloomington-Normal Community Bank, and Susan Kossman & Cindy Langrall.
Fundraising for the project started back in 2019, and in that year $35,000 was raised.
“That kind of slowed down with the COVID years, making it harder to communicate our goals to members,” said Samantha Scott, ARC communications coordinator. “But since getting back in the building, we were able to reach that $75,000 goal. So that's been really, it's been really cool to see how invested the members are in actually being a reason why this space is a success.”