May 1, 2012
ST. MARYS — A new enrichment center at Otterbein St. Marys Senior Lifestyle Community will soon open to the public, after a first of its kind community partnership made it happen.The center is a joint partnership between the Auglaize and Mercer Counties YMCA and Otterbein. In addition, of the $1.6 million needed to build the center, resident gifts totaled more than $1.1 million. Seniors in Auglaize and Mercer counties age 60 and above, with YMCA memberships can use the new facility.The work for the center began in 2007 when a visioning committee, a capital campaign committee and a life enrichment center task force met regularly to vision, to obtain charitable gifts, and to plan the facility.“What can I say about the residents of this special community except to say that there never was any question in their mind,” Executive Director Fred Wiswell said. “They got behind this project and put in as much resources, time, feedback and planning as anyone. Their feedback is reflected in the design and function of the center. They lifted me up many times when I began to wonder if we could pull this off. And, their generosity funded 75 percent of the total costs of the entire project.”Amenities at the 11,500-foot facility include a warm water therapy pool; men's and women's locker rooms and a family locker room to accommodate those with special needs; a wellness center equipped with cardio and strength training equipment with a senior audience in mind; an exercise room; lounge and patio areas; and a library equipped with wireless Internet access.“The residents at Otterbein are so excited about this new partnership,” Marketing Director Rita Hilty said. “The thought of aquatic classes, yoga and Zumba classes, and a fitness center right here on our campus is such a boost to everyone.”Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices, founded in 1912, is a nonprofit health and human service ministry, serving nearly 2,000 people, and is related to the East Ohio and West Ohio Conferences of the United Methodist Church. Otterbein has five full-service retirement communities, five skilled nursing and rehabilitation neighborhoods and a home health agency.You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.