MANATEE-- The Manatee County Commission Tuesday OK'd $20,000 to operate a summer program at the Rubonia Community Center.
The center at 1309 72nd St. E it sits in the middle of the tiny community of Rubonia, north of Palmetto. It had closed five months before reopening in February with new programs emphasizing exercise, diet and technology instruction and work on memory skills for senior citizens. The center also has informal afternoon "drop-in" programs for children.
About 25 senior citizens attend every day, and up to 20 youngsters also use the facility, said Cheri Coryea, director of neighborhood services.
The new programs drew a "pretty overwhelming response from the elders," Cor
yea said. They are "thriving in that environment."
The summer program will run June 17 through Aug. 2, said Coryea, who has been working almost a year with Rubonia residents to reinvigorate the community center.
Older adults will use the facility from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., she said.
United Community Centers Inc., which operates the center, will continue the afternoon "drop-in" program, according to Alexdrena Green, UCC director of operations.
Youngsters could enjoy afternoon arts and crafts programs, use a newly refurbished computer center or play outside, Green said.
Free lunches paid for by federal funds will be provided for qualified young people up to 17 years old, Coryea said.
Officials emphasize Rubonia's center will not offer a full daycare program like the one available at the 13th Avenue Dream Center. Rubonia's programs would be shorter and more informal, they said.
The grant was the second infusion of commission funding to help the center this year.
In January, the board OK'd $35,000 to re-open the center after it closed Aug. 16, 2012, because of budget problems.
Sara Kennedy can be reached at skennedy.com.