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Seniors’ fitness center celebrates one-year anniversary

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Crystal Cormejo-Dickson, Zumba instructor at the Frank Bailey Fitness Center, got the  guests and seniors on their feet for a quick, Latin aerobic exercise demonstration.

Special photo Crystal Cormejo-Dickson, Zumba instructor at the Frank Bailey Fitness Center, got the guests and seniors on their feet for a quick, Latin aerobic exercise demonstration.

Since the opening of the Frank Bailey Fitness Center in Riverdale, last year, Patricia Townsel, 66, has been faithfully attending the personal-fitness classes.

Townsel said even before the new center was built, she had already been coming to the senior center for the exercise classes.

“The old center was small, and there was not enough room,” said Townsel. “Since the new center has been added on, there’s more room to move around.”

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Special photo Scores of seniors and residents visit the different vendors on site at the Frank Bailey Fitness Center’s one-year anniversary celebration.

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Special photo Jessie Goree (left), a Clayton County Board of Education member, learned the basics of Zumba (Latin aerobics) during the Frank Bailey Fitness Center’s one-year anniversary celebration, held in Riverdale on Friday.

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Special photo Scores of seniors and residents visit the different vendors on site at the Frank Bailey Fitness Center’s one-year anniversary celebration.

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the center, staff members hosted a carnival in the parking lot, on Friday. According to Shada Starr, administrative secretary for Clayton County Senior Services, nearly 200 seniors and residents attended Friday’s celebration.

“I was not really expecting that many people to show up,” said Starr. “But I’m glad. The seniors really seemed to enjoy themselves and were very interactive.”

Also there to help celebrate were several Clayton County dignitaries and public officials, including: Clayton County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell; Vice Chairman Wole Ralph; Commissioner Gail Hambrick, who emceed the event; Commissioners Michael Edmondson and Sonna Singleton; Former State Rep. Mike Glanton; HUD Community Planning and Development Program Manager Stella Taylor; and Mary Bryd, director of the Clayton County Senior Services Department.

Scores of attendees participated in contests and games, hoping to win prizes. They indulged in an array of foods, and bobbed their heads and tapped their feet to Rhythm and Blues music –– all to commemorate the success of the fitness center’s first year.

As a special treat, Crystal Cormejo-Dickson, the Zumba instructor at the senior center, got most of the guests and seniors on their feet for a quick, Latin, aerobic exercise demonstration.

“The staff did a really great job with putting the event together,” said Townsel, a regular attendee at the center. “Or should I say, an excellent job.”

Starr had a lot of responsibility for making sure the event went off without a hitch. But she credited community members, and her co-workers, who donated supplies and food. “We all had to put our heads together and brainstorm to come up with ideas for the event, and it all turned out great,” said Starr. “I appreciate everyone who stepped up to help.”

James Lucas, 79, said Friday’s celebration was “terrific.” Lucas, who said he’s a Korean War veteran, is not big on fitness, but anytime there’s an event going on at the senior center, he’s there. “I’ve been coming to the center for three years,” he said. “I like these events, because I love the people, and I like to socialize and have good conversation.”

Tiffany Campbell, program coordinator for the fitness center, said the Senior Services Department is a division of county government that provides health-and-wellness opportunities to senior citizens through fitness classes, instructional classes, special events, as well trips to different areas of the continental United States.

“Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for Clayton County’s senior adult population by promoting health-, aging-and relative-caregiver programs,” said Campbell. “The focus is to enable seniors to maintain their independence in the community by addressing the human-services and leisure-activity need.”

To find out more about the Frank Bailey Fitness Center and fitness classes, visit the center, which is located, at 6213 Riverdale Road, in Riverdale, or call (678) 479-5062.