After months of looking for a cheaper place to rent, staff at the North Mecklenburg Senior Center finally found it at a Huntersville church.
Classes are expected to officially start at the center's new location, at Solid Rock Christian Church on Old Statesville Road on Nov. 7.
"This benefits an important segment of our community," said the Rev. Sylvester Williams, pastor at Solid Rock. "I'm glad we could be in a position where we could help them with that."
Joanne Ahern, director of the senior center, said the group has been looking for a location since last October, when rent increased at The River Church in Cornelius.
"We couldn't afford to be there anymore," she said. "But we couldn't just leave the seniors out on the street, so we kept looking for a new place to go."
Ahern said the center asked for public input but many of the suggested places didn't fit the center's criteria: They were too big, too small, too expensive or too isolated.
A couple months ago, the center started negotiating with Solid Rock Christian Church about rental space.
"It really is an ideal location," said Ahern, noting the church only uses the building on Sundays and nights.
The center operates from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays
The new location is also 7,000 square feet, which meets the state's requirement to be at least 4,000 square feet in order to receive state funding.
It's also handicapped-accessible and features sufficient parking, storage and office space, said Ahern.
And at $2,500 a month, the rent is $1,000 less, said Ahern.
"This is a great opportunity for both of us," said Williams. "It's really going to bring new life to the building."
Joyce Lagary, 68, of Cornelius said she hopes the bus stop near the new location will encourage even more seniors to visit.
"When a senior lives alone at home, they don't have many ways to make friends and meet people, and I think that's what the senior center provides," she said. "I think it's a very exciting change, and I'm looking forward to seeing the new place."