The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

May 9, 2014

Senior Center moving to new location in June

ASHTABULA — The Senior Center is moving down the street in June.

Last year, the Ashtabula County Council on Aging accepted Ashtabula businessman Ken Kister’s donation of the property at 4148 Main Ave. for use as a senior center, Lucy Hensley, executive director of the Senior Center, said.

Since that time, renovations have taken place inside the former bank building.

“We still have some painting to do and carpet to install,” Hensley said.

The Council on Aging received a $247,000 grant to renovate the building.

The Council on Aging owns the its present location — the Senior Center at 4632 Main Ave., (the old Shea’s Theater) and has no immediate plans for its use after the move, she said.

“We want very much for the building to be put to use,” Hensley said.

The old Shea’s Theater was built in 1949. M.A. Shea paid $1 million to build the 1,530-seat theater. The theater’s marquee became the focal point of downtown Ashtabula through the early 1960’s.

When the Council on Aging moved in several years ago, it closed off the theater portion of the building.

The Save the Shea Action Committee, an ad hoc committee of the Ashtabula Downtown Development Association, formed April 29 and has since met twice to discuss acquiring, restoring and returning Shea’s Theater to its former grandeur.

James Gianell and the Rev. Michael Meranda, both of Ashtabula, have been elected chairperson and secretary, respectively, of the committee.

More than a year ago, the Ashtabula Downtown Development Association invited theater restoration expert, Michael Hurwitz of Columbus, to speak to the community about the feasibility of such a project. He complimented Shea’s architecture and was optimistic about the future.

 

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