City of Westlake breaks ground for new community services center

Lydia Gadd, director of Westlake’s Senior & Community Services Department (center, in white) joins in a ceremonial groundbreaking for Westlake’s new community center accompanied by staff members (from left) Nancy Fox, Donna Feorene, Susan Laschinger, Jennifer Yoo, Jodi Rodriguez, Mary Bodmann, Cindi Lindgren and Michele Hassan. Photo by Denny Wendell

The City of Westlake officially broke ground for its newest and much anticipated community improvement project, the new Westlake Community Center. The gold shovel ceremony took place on Tuesday, Oct. 15, presided over by Mayor Dennis Clough. Attendees also included all members of City Council, several city directors and employees, the project architects and contractor, several of the center's patrons and community service department staff. Bulldozers working in the background added to the excitement of a dream turned into reality.

The Community Services Department serves a dual function bound by a singular mission to engage, enrich and empower those we serve. We offer a wide variety of programs, classes and social opportunities for the age 50-plus population. In addition, our outreach staff provide social services for residents (of any age) in need. Those services include, but are not limited to a food pantry, juvenile diversion and prescription assistance. Services are provided in a confidential manner.

The new building has been designed with a sharp focus to age-friendly details. The 28,000-square-foot one-story facility doubles our current facility space and eliminates stairs, narrow hallways and our current sloped driveway.

Our design team included LifeSpan Design, headed by an architect and former senior center director turned designer, whose sole specialty is senior center design. The husband-and-wife team are the renowned experts in this niche, and have been sought after to design senior centers all over the United States, including a project in Alaska. They have joined DS Architecture as consultants to our project, weighing in on details that are often not considered.

Some of these features include a parking lot with benches and pedestrian aisles, acoustic hearing loop (for people with hearing aids to be able to hear only the sound of the speaker, and not the background noise), and exercise equipment that is specifically designed for seniors who may or may not have exercised in their younger years. 

A serenity garden courtyard is in the middle of the building, maximizing natural light with floor to ceiling windows throughout the main circulation corridor. This design also lends itself to shorter walks for patrons. Amenities include: a classroom, art room, theater, cafe, equipped fitness room, exercise studio and a large (dividable) gathering/dining room. There are also many areas for spontaneous visits, non-scheduled card games and just a safe, welcoming place to relax and not be alone at home. The design fits into the Westlake municipal landscape, with a bit of a modern vibe and programs with all the different generations of seniors (and more) in mind.

Located next to the Westlake Recreation Center, this freestanding building will add to the park campus, providing residents with a variety of social, recreational, educational, volunteering and outreach  opportunities. The two departments will be able to share some resources, thereby optimizing services.

For more information about this and current program offerings come see us at our current location at 29694 Center Ridge Road. We are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. You can find our monthly newsletter on the city website at You can also call us at 440-899-3544.

Lydia Gadd

I am the Director of the Senior and Community Services Department for the City of Westlake. I am also a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor.

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Volume 11, Issue 21, Posted 10:09 AM, 11.05.2019