Facility raising money for a new, bigger, more-modern building


By Raiza Giorgi



The Solvang Senior Center has called 1745 Mission Drive ‘home’ since 1983. The 2,700-square-foot modular building, which acts as the go-to gathering and information spot for Solvang and Santa Ynez Valley residents, was funded mainly through the generosity of Solvang residents-seniors, Boy Scouts, PTA bake sales, dinners and a few grants.  

“Although we do a pretty good job of this now, a new, modern building with an additional 2,000 square feet would allow us to expand and become a multi-purpose center for Solvang and the entire Santa Ynez Valley,” said Ellen Albertoni, executive director for the Solvang Senior Center. 

In order to make that dream a reality, the center is hosting its second “Take a Ride Back In Time” breakfast ride event from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 14, at The Alisal Ranch. 

“As we look toward the future, embracing and envisioning the fantastic possibilities that await us, please consider taking part in a fun-filled, exclusive Alisal Breakfast Ride to the historic Alisal Adobe,” Albertoni added. 

The current senior center is located on county property and was erected before Solvang was incorporated with many of the initial fees for services and utility hook-ups waived. Several local tradesmen, plumbers and electricians donated their time and talents to help this project become a reality. 

“It was a true labor of love addressed by the entire community to provide a facility for the Valleys seniors,” Albertoni said.

Albertoni continued that center’s membership has grown by approximately 650 individuals and daily use of the facility has grown exponentially. From the days of daily lunches, a few activities and social events, the center has become a hub of over 20 weekly activities, daily lunches, monthly dinner nights, monthly day trips and special programs and speakers. 

“The little clubhouse on the hill is literally bursting at the seams as it is dedicated to the wellness and life enrichment of Valley seniors,” she said. “Through educational, physical and nutritional programs, social activities and community outreach, seniors are kept healthy in mind, body and spirit.” 

The years have taken their toll on this modular complex, Albertoni explained. Regardless of rigorous maintenance measures taken to keep it in good safe working order, this old house is pushing the boundaries of being a viable building as the center plans towards a viable future. 

“We want to make sure that we are able to offer our active aging citizens 55 and older, the most rapidly expanding age group in the community, a wonderful place that encourages them to continue on the path of staying active and healthy, both physically and mentally,” Albertoni said. 

Along with the exclusive Alisal Breakfast Ride to the Historic Alisal Adobe, participants will enjoy a horse ride or can choose to ride the hay wagon. They will enjoy cowboy poetry, singing, live auction and bid for a cause. 

Call the center directly and ask for Ellen for more information and ticket purchase. The prices are $175 for a Ride a Horse ticket and $125 to ride the hay wagon.

The Solvang Senior Center is located at 1745 Mission Dr. in Solvang and operates from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. The center can be reached at 805-688-3793.