Columbus Community Center welcomes seniors back into the building

COLUMBUS – It’s beginning to feel like a sign of the times.

After a year of unused amentites, silent halls and empty rooms, the Columbus Community Center finally brought its patrons back into the building, both to the relief of the seniors as well as the center’s manager, Cindy Branting.

“It’s great, it’s good to see them back, it’s good to see that they’re happy, they’re healthy,” she said.

“That, to me, is exactly why we’re here.”

Isolation can be a huge problem for seniors, and in some cases outright catastrophic for their health.

It’s an issue that the pandemic made many times worse, turning it into an obstacle that can be very difficult to overcome.

“You kinda have to restyle your life, and just make it go and try to make time pass as fast as it could, which is pretty touch,” said Luther Bakenhus.

He’s been a center visitor in 13 years, and in all that time he hasn’t experienced a closure that lasted as long as 2020’s.

With the reopening, he’s back to hanging out with his friends and enjoying some pool and some food together.

“I’d say dinner tasted better today than it had in 13 months,” he said.

It’s a soft reopening for the center, with just a portion of the regulars and activities returning.

Branting hopes the worst of the pandemic has passed, so the center and everything else can get back to normal.