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LAKE STATION —The need for a new senior citizen center has existed for years in Lake Station, and that void was filled recently.

City officials opened a new facility on Saturday at Columbus Park near 29th Avenue and Benton Street.

“This is really nice,” said James Alexander, president of the city’s senior citizen organization.

Alexander, who has participated in senior programs for more than 15 years, said the group is thankful for the new building.

The former senior center had long been neglected, which caused a variety of interior and exterior issues there.

It’s condition deteriorated so bad that the group had to move out of it in 2018.

City administration early this year decided to buy the new 2,052-square-foot modular unit to replace the former building. The new modular facility cost about $82,000, and it came furnished with appliances.

Public Works Superintendent Adrian Vera said it was “a team effort” to install the modular building.

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The city’s FIGHT organization, the Lake Station Lions Club and city departments were among those involved in the project.

“We’ve come together and brought something nice to the city of Lake Station,” Vera said.

Lake Station officials initially wanted the center to open in the spring, but a variety of factors delayed the project, officials said.

Because the project was largely completed by volunteers, work was finished when volunteers were available to help.

The city’s senior citizens hosted activities in a variety of locations while they waited for the new facility to open. That included the cabin at Riverview Park and at City Hall.

June Shuttleworth, vice president of the Lake Station senior group, said the organization even had activities poolside under a canopy at the community pool.

City officials hope the upgraded facility will attract more participation from the senior community.

The seniors group has several programs scheduled for November, including chair yoga, games and free lunches on Fridays.

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