New senior center opens at former Knights of Columbus headquarters

Staff Writer

Seniors in several sections of Woodbridge have a new hangout. The Sycamore Senior Center in Port Reading, which had its grand opening Sept. 23, will provide a hub of activity for older residents.

“We have a fantastic Evergreen Senior Center in Colonia, but it’s at the northern end of the town and not accessible for many seniors,” Mayor John McCormac said. “The Sycamore Senior Center will be closer to residents of Fords, Hopelawn, Keasbey, Woodbridge proper, Sewaren, and of course, Port Reading.”

The center, at 290 Old York Road, was formerly home to the Port Reading Knights of Columbus. The township purchased the first floor of the building for $425,000 to be used as the new senior center, and since closing on the sale a couple of months back, has been hard at work retrofitting the facility for use as a senior center.

“We just redesigned the interior to make it senior accessible, and to make it so seniors can use it,” John Hagerty, spokesman for the township, said.

New carpeting, ceilings, paint and other refurbished features have transformed the space, officials said.

“It will be set up very similar to Evergreen, with pool tables, TVs, sofas and areas for sewing, jigsaw puzzles and cards,” McCormac said. “And it will have trips and social events, just like Evergreen.” The mayor said an additional boon is that the Fords, Woodbridge and Port Reading senior clubs can hold their meetings at the new center.

He said the Woodbridge Senior Club has hosted meetings at St. James Catholic Church on Amboy Avenue in Woodbridge.

“There are 15 stairs into the basement, and it’s very difficult for seniors to navigate without an elevator,” McCormac said, adding that the Fords Senior Club has met at the library, where they’re unable to have coffee at their meetings.

“It’s going to be great for our seniors, and I’m really, really looking forward to it,” Mc- Cormac said. “This is just something I’ve had in the back of my mind for years.” With the Knights of Columbus keeping ownership of the building’s second floor, the organization will continue to hold meetings and run its bar out of that space.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” Hagerty said.

And although the facility has officially opened for seniors to enjoy, the township plans to continue upgrading various aspects of the building going forward, McCormac said.

According to Hagerty, the undertaking has been a pet project of McCormac’s.

“He’s been really thrilled with this thing, and it’s really going to be a nice, nice amenity for our senior community,” Hagerty said.