Sue Leighton, program coordinator at Eastern Area Agency on Aging, carries Meals on Wheels deliveries out of the new kitchen at the Durgin Center in Brewer. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

The Eastern Area Agency on Aging said Wednesday it will open a new center for seniors in Brewer this fall, named for a well known former Bangor City Council chair and advocate for seniors who died last year.

The Durgin Center will have space for 400 to 500 seniors to attend classes, socialize and receive meals, according to Dan Frye, the agency’s development director.

The center will open at 274 State St. in Brewer’s Twin City Plaza in the space that the former Twin Super Buffet space occupied until 2013. The agency’s headquarters are housed nearby in the same shopping complex.

Dyan Walsh, executive director of Eastern Area Agency on Aging, announced on Wednesday the opening of the Durgin Center, a new center for seniors in Brewer. Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik / BDN

“The message is clear,” Dyan Walsh, the agency’s executive director, said at a Wednesday morning ceremony announcing the Durgin Center. “The community wants an accessible space where older adults can stay active and socially connected.”

Bangor-area seniors have not had a senior center for almost six years, since the Hammond Street Senior Center in downtown Bangor closed its doors in October 2015 for financial reasons.

The new center in Brewer is named for Maj. Gen. Nelson Durgin, a former Bangor City Council chair and advocate for Maine veterans, early childhood education and the elderly. A former Maine adjutant general, Durgin served on the Eastern Area Agency on Aging’s board of directors for 14 years. He died last September at age 83.

As COVID-19 swept through Maine, Walsh said, it “became clear that older people faced challenges such as isolation, loneliness, and food insecurity.”

The Eastern Area Agency on Aging announced on Wednesday the opening of a new welcoming center in Brewer. The Durgin Center, named after EAAA board member Nelson Durgin, will open this fall and offer wellness classes, activities and social opportunities for area seniors. Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik / BDN

The Eastern Area Agency on Aging delivered 188,000 meals to seniors during the pandemic through its Meals on Wheels program. The new center will give it a larger space to prepare those meals, said Ellen Angel, president of the agency’s board of directors.

Construction on the space began early last year.

Walsh said the agency, which serves seniors in Penobscot, Piscataquis, Hancock and Washington counties, hopes to raise $533,000 to pay for the center. So far, the organization has raised about $278,000, with help from groups including the Bangor Lions Club and Good Shepherd Food Bank.

Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.