By Vicki McCullough
On Saturday, August 11, the Blaine Senior Center will celebrate its 50th anniversary, so Young at Heart will share the story of how it began. This is the final piece of a five-part series written by the late Evelyn Yarbrough for the Blaine Senior Center:
After school begun, the Lutheran church nearby let us use their kitchen and dining room until the building was complete. During the construction phase, things went smoothly aside from the contractor resigning and the construction superintendent suffering a heart attack.
We were able to tentatively move into our new building , but could not settle down completely. We submitted plans and got estimates for the library shelves, office facilities and all other unfinished things. Our top priority was the conversation area, which had open areas all the way around showing pipes, wiring, gobs of sawdust and other interesting features which were not inviting.
We had to raise money for one thing at a time.
Another volunteer and I found a place in Bellingham that placed art on our walls, bulletin area and all our other interior wall coverings at a reasonable price. Staff with the Whatcom County Parks and Recreation Department helped paint the interior walls. We whittled away at the jobs and after about three years we were ready to tackle the final problem – folding doors.
All of the American firms quoted prices that were still out of our reach. Two of my neighbors, who lived in Canada for most of the year, started searching Canadian sources for us and told us which locations were the best to try. Gary Chapman and I made a trip to Canada and found a very satisfactory product at a reasonable price.
When we were finally ready to have the doors installed, we found that the architect had made an error in locating the beams and the installation could not be made until this was corrected. By this time, we were so used to major headaches being connected to every step that we would have probably been afraid that something was wrong if things had gone smoothly.
Now we were through. Another volunteer and I sat down to consider all that had happened. We felt that we were missing something. I think we may have felt like two old dogs who had lost a bone and didn’t know what to chew on next.
The discussion and planning began in 1989 and 1990. The bond issue passed in the fall of 1991. The new building was complete in 1994. But times, they were a changing and Blaine was still growing.
Sometime soon, someone is going to start with a new dream and a new plan. When that time comes, there is no better place than the city of Blaine. There are a lot of good people here who will work to see it through.