The Better Together senior room project came together last week with dedication of a space inside the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center headquarters for use by older clients and members of the Village in the Ville network.
What was once a storeroom is now the Rose Room, with the name paying homage to the Barber Roselea Center in the Park of Roses that served senior citizens in the neighborhood as a gathering place for three decades until it closed in July 2008.
The space is inside the CRC's headquarters at 3222 N. High St.
The formal dedication of the Rose Room on April 24 was a special event for Bill Owens, the CRC's executive director -- not only for what it means to seniors the settlement house serves but also because of a personal connection.
Aiden Drake, 17, made the transformation of the former storage space into the Rose Room his Eagle Scout project for Boy Scout Troop 28. He is the son of Chester "Chuck" Drake, whom Owens said is a fellow Northland High School graduate and his college roommate.
"That he's involved is a lot of fun," Owens said of the younger Drake.
"I spent a lot of time trying to reach my Eagle Scout project," the Metro High School student said.
Creating the Rose Room out of the storage space wasn't a one-person job, Drake said. He had help from 17 adult and youth members of Troop 28 in clearing the room, painting the walls and assembling lamps and furniture that had been donated by Clintonville resident Darla King's company, King Business Interiors.
In addition to the tables, chairs, lamps and carpeting provided by the company, the decor includes a three-panel painting of roses. King said an art class is held at her office on Wednesdays for employees and guests, and the painting was completed to accompany the other items for the Rose Room.
"This was just our way to be creative and give back and make a difference, maybe," King said.
"I've never done anything like this before," said Drake, whose mother is Susan Neale. "It was pretty stressful to be in charge of everything. I had some pretty hard deadlines to meet."
The creation of the Rose Room affirms the CRC truly cares about its senior-citizen clients, said Christine Happel, director of Village in the Ville.
"Anytime you get a designated space for seniors, I think that's a good sign that they're our focus," she said. "It just provides a nice space that is clear of the chaos of the rest of the office. I think this space will (allow) us to do things we haven't previously done."
"We've never had dedicated space for our older adults," Owens said. "We saw how, with the demise of the Barber Roselea Senior Center, they lost their own dedicated space. We were able to empty out our storage area in the back of the building where we kept walkers and wheelchairs and seasonal things and rent out the nearby building to move it there.
"It is important that our older neighbors have space just for themselves to age in place."