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The Daily Tar Heel

Twinkle Toes in a Row

A Nov. 28 press release announced the program's move from West End Theater located at 300 E. Main St. on Dec. 31, 2001.

Jerry Passmore, director of the Orange County Department of Aging, said the program has now relocated to the Century Center of Carrboro. Its full name has been changed to Carrboro Recreation and Parks Senior Leisure Program at Century Center.

The Century Center, a new building located at 100 N. Greensboro St., is within walking distance from the ArtsCenter. It opened in March 2001.

Passmore said the department of aging opted to terminate the lease with the ArtsCenter to provide better services and more spacious facilities for seniors.

He added that the services previously offered at the ArtsCenter will be improved with the move to the Century Center.

"In comparison to our former program, we have much more of a variety of activities now," Passmore said.

"The program that we had (at the ArtsCenter) offered arts and crafts, a luncheon, occasional speakers, day trips and shopping, all with arranged transportation."

Passmore said the program will be able to expand on those activities because they will have access to space throughout the day, instead of the former 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. ArtsCenter program.

Passmore added that the department will be working closely with the town of Carrboro for future senior facilities.

"At the moment, we're trying to consolidate and move into places owned by the town and county," he said.

Alderman Jacquelyn Gist said town senior centers will play a role in Carrboro Vision 2020 plan of development during the next 20 years.

"The senior center is a very important part of our community," she said. "And it relates to the plan in the sense that Vision 2020 strives to meet the needs of all residents."

Colin Bissett, executive director of the ArtsCenter, expressed his regrets in seeing the Carrboro Senior Program leave.

"It is sad to see the seniors move; they've been great tenants over the years," he said

He also said the ArtsCenter staff hung a paper banner that read "We Will Miss You" over the West End stage.

But Bisset added that the center is now looking to the future and considering new uses for the 1,750 square-foot space.

"We're working on some ideas, but we're still looking for some input on how to best utilize the space," he said.

"I'd like to see it used by the community -- that's what it's all about, and whatever we do, it will be to benefit the community."

Bisset added that the ArtsCenter is working with a deadline to fill the vacancy.

"We'd like to see something in there by June when we'll probably expand our kids' camp, which is a very popular program, into (the West End Theater)," he said.

Passmore addressed concerns about the senior program's changes by assuring that services will continue to be provided for seniors.

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"It is important for people to understand that this is not a discontinued program but a relocation," he said.

"We're very optimistic about serving the Carrboro community."

The City Editor can be reached