‘It gives you a place to go’: Lincoln senior center off to good start, owners say

Pauline Whitney (right) of Chester and Chrystle Shields of Lincoln share a joke at the Golden Key Senior Center on Wednesday, May 23, 2012.
Pauline Whitney (right) of Chester and Chrystle Shields of Lincoln share a joke at the Golden Key Senior Center on Wednesday, May 23, 2012. Buy Photo
Posted May 23, 2012, at 8 p.m.
Last modified May 23, 2012, at 8:27 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — Joanne Viosine knew plenty about gardening and line dancing and not as much about jewelry, but she’s taking classes in all three subjects at the Golden Key Senior Center.

“You do it to have something to do with friends and to meet new people,” the 65-year-old Chester resident said Wednesday. “You’ve got to get out of the house. It [the senior center] gives you a place to go. There’s no place else to meet unless we meet at McDonalds or Walmart.”

The only privately owned and operated senior center in the Lincoln Lakes region has been giving seniors a place to meet since it opened at 880 Main St. in November, co-owner Jim Whitney said.

Seventy-six seniors pay the $20-per-month fee to be Golden Key members and Whitney and his brother Jon Whitney hope to hit their first-year goal of 100 members by November.

The Whitneys chose the former doctor’s office about two miles outside town as a third choice, after talks to move into the former Carl Troutt School in Mattawamkeag and the Ballard Hill Community Center in Lincoln fell through.

“Ballard Hill would have been too expensive,” Jon Whitney said. “They [town officials] wanted us to rent it by the square foot. The bathrooms and the stairs needed work, and they didn’t want to put any money into it.”

Talks regarding the former grade school fell through when the Whitneys decided they couldn’t wait for Mattawamkeag officials to put together a committee and study the school’s uses, Jon Whitney said.

The Whitneys like the building they chose and the nearly four acres upon which it is located. Its access to the Penobscot River allows them to host canoe and kayaking clubs or trips and its size allows classes in everything from knitting to woodworking.

The brothers hope to buy the building from its owner, Dr. Noah Nesin, by the winter so they can add a large room for dancing and large-scale events. They already host musical acts three or four times a month.

Their first fundraiser dance will be held 7-10 p.m. Saturday at Mattanawcook Academy. Nonmembers will be charged $5 at the door; members will be allowed in for free.

Anyone with questions about the center can call 794-8462 or email goldenkeysrctr@gmail.com.

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