Bayport Legion, Senior Center celebrate improvements

By HANNAH JOHNSON – Stillwater Gazette

BAYPORT – Some Bayport residents had cause for celebration on Wednesday.

The American Legion Post No. 491, the home of Community Thread’s Bayport Senior Center, underwent a drastic makeover. Work on the building that began at the end of last summer is now complete.

The building needed serious repairs in several areas. It was accomplished thanks to a capital improvement grant from the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation, said Valerie Jones, Community Thread’s executive director.

The repairs cost about $165,000, all covered by the grant. The repairs covered a several areas of the post, including a new roof, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units, updated gutters and new tile and carpet.

One of the biggest improvements was the new kitchen. Jones said the contractor gutted the entire kitchen and installed new fixtures.

"The building was in pretty rough shape," Jones said about the building’s condition before the renovations.

Not only do the improvements benefit the Bayport Senior Center, but it also gives the Legion the opportunity to have its building updated, Jones said.

"It’s really a win-win for both the senior center and the Legion," she said.

Community Thread held an open house on Wednesday so residents could tour the building and celebrate the improvements. Seniors as well as other community figures like City Administrator Mitch Berg and Bayport Police Chief Laura Eastman attended the event.

Ella Mae McGinness frequently attends Senior Center and Legion events. She said the building’s improvements made a big difference.

"I’m here all the time, whether for bridge, bingo or square dancing," she said.

Later Wednesday, McGinness said she would be volunteering to read to kindergarteners.

"In the end, the seniors have the space to do what they do best – to socialize and to learn," Jones said. "This has really improved the space."