Members of the extended South Carroll Senior and Community Center family gathered Thursday to celebrate a decade in its present location with dancing and a cake as well as some reminiscing.

The facility on Mineral Hill Road in Eldersburg opened its doors on Nov. 14, 2009 after relocating from what was once an old schoolhouse on Johnsville Road.


“It was so much bigger than the old building,” said Karen Larrimore, site council president. “We came from a little tiny building and into this and it just grew.”

Jeff Degitz, director of Carroll County Parks and Recreation, attended the celebration and recalled the process of getting the facility open as well as its original purpose.

“I remember traveling to Bowie and also to Harford County and going through those buildings. ‘What do you like? What do you not like?’ And then trying to communicate that to the architects who were designing this facility," Degitz said. “The goal going through that process really was to try to come up with a facility that would be utilized by the entire community. We did not want to step on toes; this Senior Center was primarily for seniors. The goal with this was to try to expand that a little bit.”

According to Celene Steckel, chief of the Bureau of Aging and Disabilities, today’s senior center has more than four times the community engagement as it did when housed in the old building.

“The usership started out a little bit smaller," she said. “It was about 40 people on average per day back in 2000 at the other center and now, here, today, the average use of this center is almost 180 people per day, which is huge.”

Larrimore and Claire Null, who were instrumental in helping get the center started, shared some anecdotes about their efforts to get it up and running.

“It was a lot of work and a lot of stress but it was so much fun that we got everything we asked for,” said Larrimore, who also served as the senior center manager at the former center. “We were able to pick out the furniture for the back, and that’s my favorite out back. ... We had a lot of hard work and a lot of fun planning things.”

Null shared a story about the fight for the stage located in the dining area.

“So many people wanted that stage. And as a matter of fact, one of our friends that just passed away, Ruth, and she was one of the people that I worked with that we talked about that stage all the time," said Null. “It was kind of hard to get this stage up here, because we had this big building and we had all these rooms that we needed and we, we really wanted this stage. So every time I went to the meeting, and they say, ‘well, did you talk to everybody?’ Yes, I did. ‘And what do they want?’ They want a stage.”

According to Null, after repeatedly being told no for the addition of the stage because of lack of space, architects finally found room to add the stage, which is where Retro-Rockets, a Baltimore oldies band, performed in honor of the anniversary.

Null mentioned the possibility of naming the stage Ruthie’s Comedy Club, after her and Larrimore’s recently deceased friend, Ruth Moreau.

Participants in the celebration were welcome to dance to the live music, enjoy some cookies and cake and marvel at the center’s anniversary.

After 10 years at the new center, the South Carroll Senior and Community Center family hasn’t skipped a beat, merely grown.

“When I first started working at the old building, we were so cramped, so small, they considered themselves a family,” said Larrimore. “The biggest thing when we moved over here was that there would no longer be that family but, everybody made it that way so, we’re just going to keep on doing that.”