Why “community” is the center of Joyce Hanks Community Center

The West Shore Club (top) served as the city’s original community center. The Joyce Hanks Community Center today is pictured below.

Message from Mayor Dennis Bring Winter 2023

The Joyce Hanks Community Center was meant to be a gathering place for residents. A $450,000 grant let us build an addition to the center five years ago. It expanded the interior footprint including a well-equipped commercial kitchen and created a gazebo and picnic area overlooking Lake Erie.

That was a big step allowing us to expand programs and activities for residents. Now, another change has created an opportunity to add more programming.

You may know that the Lorain County Office on Aging rented the center for years in order to prepare and stage meal delivery to senior residents in Sheffield Lake, Avon, Avon Lake and Sheffield Village. Late last fall, they decided to consolidate their operations to Elyria. The move was just completed.

That means the center is now available weekday mornings and afternoons. I believe this presents the city and residents with an exciting opportunity.

A number of programs are already held at the center, including yoga, knitting, art and card-making classes, and a cooking club. Local organizations hold their meetings at the center including Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and Alcoholics Anonymous. Last fall, the Fire Department began offering CPR classes again and we are planning for our safety forces to offer more educational programs soon. A Summer Arts program for school kids is very popular. On weekends, the center is often rented by residents for birthday parties, wedding receptions and other family gatherings. It’s amazing to see how versatile the center can be whether accommodating classes or meetings then being transformed for beautiful special occasions.

We had some preliminary, and very positive, discussions with members of the parks board about initiating youth sports clinics at the center. We met recently with an entity to discuss the possibility of having two electric charging stations installed at the center. Charging stations will benefit residents as well as visitors to the city.

As for new programs, perhap moms with pre-school kids have ideas about activities they would enjoy. Others may wish to take college level classes to help them advance in their jobs or change careers.

I believe it’s important residents have a chance to suggest the programs they would like to see at the community center. Two years ago, we held meetings with senior residents to brainstorm ideas with them. As a result, Monday Morning Coffee, open to anyone over 50, was established. The goal was to give older folks a chance to meet and interact and to learn about what is going on in the city. Programs vary from information or education presentations by city and county officials, to entertainment, and the occasional field trip.

We will schedule a meeting or two for these discussions in March. I look forward to hearing your suggestions. Mayor Dennis Bring