In more ways than one, the Hurst Senior Activities Center is dear to Emma Lozano’s heart
“If I would just sit at home, I’d die tomorrow,” said the 86-year-old lifelong homemaker, who became a regular at the center after her husband died six years ago.
Lozano credits staffers at the 27,500-square-foot facility that opened in 2009 at 700 Heritage Circle for not only helping her trim more than 60 pounds from her 5-foot-6-inch body but also filling her life with cherished friends.
She slimmed down and strengthened her heart by dancing. Depending on the weekday, you’ll find her in classes for Zumba, Hawaiian, line and formal dance styles.
“Anyone who’s looking for me can find me here,” said Lozano, describing the staff and members as “a big family.”
The center, which has a nice lineup of exercise equipment in addition to the classes, also strengthens seniors’ minds. This spring staffers upgraded the computer lab with 15 brand new PCs running Windows 8 (Windows 10 may be added soon), and all are connected to the Internet, center director Linda Ray said. Expert help is available for beginners all the way to advanced users.
City Manager Allan Weegar said improving seniors’ lives is a source of city pride.
“Our Senior Activities Center is a huge benefit to our seniors and to our community,” he said.
The senior center also has a billiards room, arts and crafts studios and a library.
As far as Ray knows, “we have the only new, freestanding senior center in Northeast Tarrant County. In other towns they have or are building what they’re calling family life centers that include senior center areas. In their fitness centers, for instance, seniors are welcome to use exercise equipment alongside everyone else.”
In Hurst, the only amenity the seniors have to share is a pool. An agreement with the nearby Heritage Village Residences gives senior center members access to an aquatics center for exercise and classes that range from beginner swimming to water aerobics.
Anyone 55 and up may join the senior center. Hurst residents pay $20 per year; nonresidents, $80 per year, or $10 for a day pass.
There are more than 1,700 members, and Lozano said she has developed friendships with many of them. She’s always open to more, especially any guys who can keep up with her at formal dances each second and fourth Thursday.
“I’m not looking for a man,” Lozano said. “But a friend to go dancing with and out to dinner sometimes — that would be nice.”