Weiner senior citizens fight back to save senior center

Weiner senior citizens fight back to save senior center

WEINER, AR (KAIT) - A senior citizen group in Weiner decided to fight back Thursday to reclaim the Cardinal Center.

Diana Ruesewald is the on-site manager of the center but was shocked to find the locks changed sometime before Monday.

Ruesewald said the board for the center has not helped the seniors since they first received the building in 2013.

She said she and others pay for items at the center out of their pocket with no reimbursement.

She explained the board sees the building as a community center and wants to rent out the space to other groups at no cost, leaving the senior citizens to clean up.

Ruesewald filed a lawsuit in September to remove the current board members and replace them with a new group.

With the case in court, some who use the center to socialize just want it to stop.

"Disagreements shouldn't go this far," Dale Hurst said. "Of course I know anything that goes on, you're going to have disagreements. I don't care what it is but you don't need to let it go this far. You need to get them solved and keep on going."

Ruesewald's name is on the lease for the building that states it will be used for a senior citizen center.

As a way of fighting back, she and other senior citizens drilled into the new locks and removed the sign on the front of the building.

Ruesewald said they are tired of being bullied by the board and will not take it any longer.

The Cardinal Community Service Board of Directors responded Monday by saying that they were founded in 2013 with a mission to provide a recreational and entertainment venue for young and adults alike.

In a news release, the board admitted that the lease originally identified the building as a senior center, but said the school board acknowledged their intention for the use of the building to service the entire community on November 22, 2013.

Residents us the building for several events like weddings, showers, parties, celebrations, reunions and meetings.

"We currently do not charge for the use of the building and this board would hope to keep it that way as long as it is feasible to do so," the release stated. "Often people using the building will leave a freewill donation and we are appreciative of any monetary donations. These funds are deposited in our bank account to help offset expenses."

The board also claimed the recent controversy stems from Ruesewald asking for reimbursement for items she purchased that were not approved by the board beforehand.

The release stated that the board will continue to "reimburse all legitimate, authorized purchases that are submitted with receipts."

The CCS Board denies allegations that the seniors or anyone else had been locked out of the building on purpose.

The release goes onto to say that the board wants to make it clear that the center is available for all senior and community activities continue as before.

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