When membership numbers dwindle, most organizations look at ways to invite new interest and the Ponoka Drop-In Centre is doing the same thing; with $73,000 going to renovations.
New paint, carpets, chairs, a new floor in the auditorium, and tables are among some of the upgrades being applied. Drop-In Centre president Bill Jones hopes the building will be rented out for more events throughout the year.
“We’re looking for ideas to attract new and younger members,” he said.
Started in 1969, it was originally called the men’s Drop-In Centre and was located at the former AGT building on 50 Avenue. In 1974 it officially became the Drop-In Centre at the former Armories building with activities such as cards, bingo, dances, potluck dinners and carpet bowling.
The current building was officially opened April 10, 1986 with 350 members during the late 1980s; 2012 has 176 and the board of directors hopes this will be a step in a new direction, especially considering annual membership costs only $10.
Of the $73,000 raised, $26,500 came from Drop-In Centre fundraising and matching funds from the Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP), and $20,000 from Ponoka County.
Jones said the board has also spoken to the Town of Ponoka and they are waiting for a response.
Renovations committee member George MacKenzie, would like to work with community groups in Ponoka to come up with ways to entice new members. “To also look at possibly other activities that the Drop-In could do.”
The board has worked with interior designer Elaine Finkbeiner, who said the project was designed to make the building “aesthetically pleasing for any kind of function.”
She feels members will be able to get back to their regular activities toward the end of the month.
“With it being more fresh…it’s really going to help,” Finkbeiner explained.
Members who are 55 years and older can enjoy weekly card games such as whist, bridge, and cribbage as well as several musical events. Doreen Rausch, first vice-president and renovations committee member, is “excited” to see what the renovations will do for the centre. Rausch organizes the two concerts each year at the centre.
“We had Gary Fjellgaard in the fall with Saskia and Darrel,” she said.
Expect to see a new rug in the billiards room, new soundboards in the card room, new paint in the activity room with floor shuffleboard and other touch-ups to give the Drop-In Centre that very look the board of directors wants.
There is also a lapidary and woodworking room that is being used as storage, a sewing room, as well as a small office, and a fully functional kitchen.