When Tim Hortons in Windham closed late last year, and a couple of other restaurants followed it, Glenn Lynds wondered what it meant for the senior citizens who met at those places for coffee every morning.

“I knew the town had done a great job with doing things for the youth, and I thought, let’s see if we could do something for the seniors. They have a need also,” said Lynds, 65, of Windham.

So he started making phone calls.

A committee of seniors formed and, with help from recreation directors from Windham and Gorham, the group plans to open the new Lakes Region Senior Center next month at the former Little Falls School in Gorham.

The Little Falls School, just off Route 202, was most recently home to the Sebago Educational Alliance’s regional special education program, which moved in July to the former Frank Jewett School in Buxton.

Gorham’s recreation department is moving some after-school and fitness programs into the Little Falls School, but it didn’t plan to use the building much during the day, said Cindy Hazelton, the department’s director.

When Hazelton heard that senior citizens were looking for space, she realized she could help get the center started. Gorham is considering converting the school into a fire station but has promised the building to the recreation department for at least a year.

“It’s a nice jumping-off point for them,” Hazelton said. “They’ve got a place to call home and a gathering space.”

The senior center will occupy one classroom in the building and will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

Lynds said there will be a craft corner with knitting supplies, card tables for cribbage tournaments, comfortable chairs for sitting and chatting and a constant supply of coffee. The committee has been working with the Southern Maine Agency on Aging and the People’s Regional Opportunity Program to schedule talks on topics including nutrition, medical benefits and computer skills.

The center will rely on donations and fundraising to provide furniture, supplies and activities. Lynds said the center has already received a free piano and a computer.

No opening date has been set, he said, but an open house is planned for Sept. 22 from 1 to 3 p.m., when people 50 and older from any town can learn about the center and register by paying the $10 annual fee.

In addition to providing a place to meet, the committee hopes to become a comprehensive source of information on seniors’ interests and activities in the area. It plans to mail out a monthly calendar and a quarterly newsletter.

Lynds and Windham Recreation Director Brian Ross presented the plan to the Windham Town Council on Tuesday and asked for help in letting others know about it. Town Manager Tony Plante praised the group for its work.

“I think it’s fantastic that we’ve got people that are taking the initiative and not sitting back and waiting for somebody to do it for them,” he said. 

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

lbridgers@mainetoday.com