ADAMS -- The Council on Aging reopened for business Monday at its new location, the Adams Visitor Center on Hoosac Street.
About 60 people stopped by for an open house, which included tours, coffee and donuts. Many arrived on foot or bicycle from all over town and off the adjacent Ashuwillticook Rail Trail.
Once there, they enjoyed a downstairs conference and dining room that has doubled in size, part of the project to refit the center carried out by Burke Construction of Adams. Staff led tours throughout the building and the COA's new second-floor space.
COA director Erica Samson, the proud new resident of one of the center's upstairs corner offices, was elated by the "fantastic" response.
"Every person who came left with a walking journal, pedometer or a File of Life [an emergency medical form]," Samson said. "The tables were packed at lunch with people who said they felt welcome to stay and socialize."
Last week, COA's services were unavailable during the move from its longtime home on East Street. The move was assisted by the Department of Public Works and Community Corrections.
The COA's upstairs space will soon be improved by eight new computer stations and laptop tables. The building also has Wi-Fi, courtesy of Time Warner.
In addition, new programming is being added as outreach coordinator Linda Greenbush recruits more local seniors to take advantage of COA's services. Samson said six
Greenbush said COA staff are "really gearing up for fuel assistance" this year, with nine appointments scheduled for October. Staff would like to nearly triple last year's number of seniors -- from 35 to more than 100 -- who took advantage of the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program.
The COA has also launched "Informative Fridays" programming, hosted a Health and Wellness Fair earlier this month, and continue to offer its regular programs, including quilting, Tai Chi, homebound grocery shopping and many more services. A new program, "Fix It Friends," aims to provide assistance with household tasks on the first Friday and third Saturday of the month.
"We're happy to be unpacked and set up, and we're hoping to be successful with bringing new people to the center," Greenbush said.
Samson said the COA is looking to "fill holes" with new volunteers to account for a potential uptick in residents utilizing its services, now that the council is located downtown.
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