MOUNT PLEASANT — Playing games of bridge with friends at the town’s Thomasena Stokes-Marshall Senior Center is how Charles Bell spends Monday and Tuesday afternoons.
“Nice service. Good, hot coffee,” Bell said of the center’s Harry M. Hallman Jr. Cafe.
But some things about the popular center could be better.
“The card room is too small,” he said.
That will be changing as the town embarks on a $1.8 million expansion of the center to double its size to more than 14,000 square feet.
Since opening nearly four years ago with about 400 members, the center has grown to a membership of nearly 2,300.
“It just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” said Town Administrator Eric DeMoura.
Bell said the center is a bargain with its $72 annual membership, which the town plans to raise to $100. A public hearing on the fee hike will be held at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting, which begins at 6 p.m..
The same membership rate applies to town and Charleston County residents. Stokes-Marshall said she fought against a recommendation to raise the county resident membership to $200. She recently went to the County Council Finance Committee to ask for a contribution to the town senior center. In response, over the next three years, the county has agreed to provide $120,000 for the center, she said.
As a result of Stokes-Marshall’s efforts, the membership fee will stay the same for county and town residents. She wants the town to generate income by renting the senior center when it is not in use much like it does with Alhambra Hall.
Read more in tomorrow’s print edition and at postandcourier.com.