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Seniors not happy Hammond site closed

Roberts and Hammond Senior Centers site manager Jordan Pechuman dishes up Thanksgiving dinner for the Hammond seniors at Trinity Lutheran Church on Nov. 21. It was Pechuman’s last day as site manager. He plans to open a restaurant in Frederic with his wife. (Photo by Sarah Young)

It was a dreary, wet day on Nov. 21 when the Hammond Senior Center celebrated its Thanksgiving dinner, and some seniors’ moods mirrored the weather outside.

Brad Beckman, administrator for St. Croix County’s Aging and Disability Resource Center, formally announced to the Hammond senior group before their meal on the 21st that the Center will be closing -- temporarily.

“I hope people aren’t going to sit around for six months and just wait,” Beckman said.

He encouraged the seniors to go to other sites in Baldwin and Roberts, and spoke highly of activities going on at each.

St. Croix County has 10 senior center nutrition sites, including ones in Deer Park, Somerset and New Richmond, plus the ones in Roberts and Baldwin that Beckman mentioned.

Hammond Arts Alliance Paulette Anderson said she will make sure some activities are continued, including card making at Foster Hall and playing Wii at the Hammond Community Library.

“The most important part of this program is to get out and talk and socialize,” Anderson said. “I’ll do whatever I can to get this reopened.”

Many seniors spoke about their feelings of the center closing, even if it is temporary.

Margaret Wolske, who helped start the Roberts site 10 years ago, wishes more people would get involved, especially if they’re willing to sign petitions.

“I’m upset it’s closing,” Wolske said. “I’m very sad, and I hope and pray that they’ll come to the Roberts site.”

Pechuman said the seniors are upset, but remain hopeful that the ADRC will consider reopening it in six months.

“There’s disappointment everywhere,” Pechuman said. “But they’re hoping everything comes back around in the future.”

One woman, who only gave her first name of Eileen, said she just moved to the Hammond area not long ago and has really enjoyed her time at the center.

“I’m really going to miss this,” Eileen said. “It’s a really nice getting together camaraderie.”

Another woman, Harriet Meath, said she started visiting the center 13 years ago, along with Julian and Irene Burch.

“I’m very sorry that it’s a temporary closing,” Meath said. “I will continue to go to one of them in the month of December, weather permitting.”

Bev Medes, who is active at Trinity Lutheran Church, said she is also sad about the closing, and regrets not doing too much with the center. She said she has so many other activities she’s involved in that it was hard to go to the center sometimes.

Beckman said when they decide whether to reopen the Hammond site in the spring, there will be no magic number to reopen, but it will take at least 10 to 15 people regularly attending, not including those receiving meals at home.

The last day the Hammond site was open was Nov. 26. About 25 people attended the Thanksgiving meal on Nov. 21.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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