Killeen: Bus route cuts, rain put camper on senior center reopening

(City of Killeen photo/file)

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) The Lions Park Senior Center in Killeen reopened Tuesday, but its usual crowds have been slow to return.

The center was closed in July after a water line break caused damage to the entire east end of the building.

Staff say attendance so far has been low because of bad weather, but they also blame cuts to the Hop bus routes to and from the center that started at the beginning of October.

"Right now, we don't have bus riders coming into this building like we did," says Assistant Program Director Patricia Reyes.

"They're getting kind of creative about carpooling, so they're coming back as they're able to, but unfortunately some of our people have no other way to get over here," she says.

Flooring, furniture, and equipment had to be replaced, along with several walls that the water tore through, flooding nearby rooms.

The insurance claim process also reportedly played into repair delays. Ultimately, the city paid a $10,000 deductible to cover $150,000 in damages.

However, Reyes says crews started working on repairs the day after the pipe burst.

"We had a lot of guys from our Parks and Recreation grounds crew, and they came out here and did a lot of heavy lifting- moving anything you asked of them," says Reyes.

"The whole time we were waiting, they were working on it day after day. When I would come over here, no matter what day, there were guys working in the back, working on the floor, working on the walls," she adds.

During three months of renovations, many seniors attended activities at the Gilmore Center on East Veterans Memorial, but there were complaints of overcrowding.

Staff hope that now that Lions Park is up and running, people will find their way back and possibly bring along new acquaintances from Gilmore.

"This is their second home, so we basically return them to the state where they aren't quite as stressed. Things are familiar. They're hanging out with their friends again- as opposed to before when there wasn't quite enough room," says Reyes.

There are still some repairs taking place at the center. This week, the city approved the purchase of new gym equipment. In the meantime, seniors can workout at the Family Recreation Center next-door at no cost.

"We have people who now have a better appreciation of the Lions Club because they can understand how important it is to have space and room," says Reyes.

"I think by the time we're done, this is going to be a closer more bonded group of people overall."