Despite still seeking a long-term home, West Bloomfield’s senior center, Connect, continues to offer activities and events for local residents.

Despite still seeking a long-term home, West Bloomfield’s senior center, Connect, continues to offer activities and events for local residents.

Photo provided by the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission

West Bloomfield senior center to meet at Recreation Activities Center after building problems

Parks commission seeks long-term home for senior programs

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published September 8, 2022


WEST BLOOMFIELD — Earlier this year, the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission was set to move its senior center, “Connect,” into a temporary new home.

A lease agreement with the Orchard Mall that had been in place since 2019 ended in May, and West Bloomfield was attempting to determine what the next best fit would be.

It appeared that a temporary solution had been discovered via a partnership with the West Bloomfield School District.

The plan was for Connect to move to the former grounds of Abbott Middle School, with students from that school moving into the new West Bloomfield Middle School.

The West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation  Commission had signed a one-year agreement for the use of a portion of the Abbott building, in a partnership with the West Bloomfield School District.

There was to be no cost other than sharing utility expenses.

However, circumstances forced a change of direction.

On June 2, after school had concluded for the day, with nobody in the room, the ceiling collapsed in an unused classroom at Roosevelt Elementary School in Keego Harbor.

Due to structural damage that occurred at Roosevelt, a decision was made that students from that school would be displaced and moved into the Abbott property this fall.

The West Bloomfield School District had “generously” offered the space at Abbott to WB at no cost.

“We are extremely disappointed that our partnership with the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Department to host the Connect Program did not go as planned,” West Bloomfield School District Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Kyle Anderson stated in a release. “Due to unforeseen circumstances with one of our elementary buildings, the District needs to utilize the old West Bloomfield Middle School/Abbott Middle School building during the next school year. The School District values its partnership with WB Parks and looks forward to continued discussions regarding providing services to our community.”

West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission Senior Services Manager Kailyn McMahon shared her thoughts about having to transition, after learning that the Abbott building was no longer an option.

“It was tough, and we are still transitioning,”  McMahon stated via email. “While we rallied and continue to rally around the seniors and the students for this unexpected circumstance halting our activated move, we continue providing quality activities and engagement for seniors as our front-running priority.”

Prior to learning the news, the commission had already been offering services at the Recreation Activities Center, and in the interim, the plan is to continue to do so.

“We continue to work diligently behind the scenes to secure additional spaces for our programs and events, as well as reaching out to our community partners to utilize other facilities whenever possible,” the release states.

Although the majority of senior activities take place at the Recreation Activities Center, Drake Sports Park, West Bloomfield Middle School and Abbott are also utilized.

West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission Marketing Manager Meagan Tehako shared her opinion as to what attracts people to the senior center.

“I think it’s a really welcoming space,” Tehako said. “We have some really great staff that we’ve been able to recruit over the past few years that are doing this for the right reasons; they’re passionate about helping seniors and engaging with them. So they’re happy to be at work, and the seniors are happy to have a smiling face to greet them. I think that’s a big part of it, and having a designated space that’s for them; trying to meet their unique needs, and offering programs that are important to them.”

According to McMahon, there is a “full slate” of fall programs available to seniors this year, including technology talks, veterans’ meetups, pickleball, fitness programs, trips to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, retirement and financial advising classes, knitting, “Motown hustles,” and single-mingle opportunities.

Other events that have been scheduled include a harvest day lunch, a senior health expo and a heroes appreciation breakfast.

To register or learn more information about events, or to access the Fall Guide, visit or call (248) 451-1900.

The Fall Guide can also be picked up at the Recreation Activities Center, located at 4640 Walnut Lake Road.

McMahon shared which event on the fall schedule she is the most excited about.

“I am very excited to be on board this year and getting to know the Connect community as the senior services manager, but I am most excited to see the heroes appreciation breakfast for veterans this year,” she stated. “This is a program I can tell is near and dear to the heart of my team, and I am very excited to serve veterans in the brand-new West Bloomfield Middle School.”

The commission hopes to eventually find a long-term space for Connect.

Tehako said there are currently no updates to share about what the long-term solution might be.

McMahon also weighed in on the subject of finding a new home.

“Our team continues to work through each effort and process input that arrives readily to us, to secure a foundation for the future of Connect and the many senior citizens who call West Bloomfield home,” she stated. “We hope to have an update to share in the upcoming weeks.”

From Tehako’s perspective, Connect is a “destination” for seniors.

“There is a high demand for recreation and programming from West Bloomfield’s 15,000 seniors, as they comprise nearly 23.1% of the WB population. We have nearly 400 members, steady,” McMahon stated.

Although Tehako said that “everyone is welcome to come in,” she added that there are “perks” offered to those who choose to become Connect members.

Fees for a 12-month membership cost $15 for residents and $25 for non-residents. There is also an option to get a $25 resident-couple membership for residents.

For non-residents, a couples membership costs $45.

Memberships can be purchased at the Recreation Activities Center.

According to McMahon, perks include coffee service and Connect-member only events.

McMahon provided her perspective as to what draws people to the senior center.

“Our senior center is a melting pot of fun-spirited seniors who are eager to utilize our programs and services,” she stated. “Our senior center may not have a dedicated four walls right now, but that is not stopping the heart of our operations. I think a part of the appeal to people amidst all of our challenges and opportunity, is that at the heart of it, is a team who believes in the nature of community, the well-being of seniors, and remains steadfast through it all.”

Tehako discussed her favorite aspect of Connect.

“I think getting people out, together, mingling, learning and spending time together — it’s more important now than it ever has been before,” she said.