The long-awaited east-side location for Active Generations opens this week

The long-awaited east-side location for Active Generations opens this week.

The 30,000-square-foot building is near 18th Street and Foss Avenue and is designed to take pressure off the center at 2300 W. 46th St.

“It’s been a crazy process, but it’s all worth the time and effort,” president and CEO Gerald Beninga said.

The building originally was planned before the pandemic, then put on hold during it and finally restarted with the help of a lead gift from Denny Sanford.

“Frankly, it probably wouldn’t have happened if Denny hadn’t given us his gift, and then we did really well on the (Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce Community) Appeals process, which has been awesome … and we had another significant gift we received. That’s why this building was built.”

And it could be just in time. Projections show the aging population of Minnehaha County is expected to double by 2035.

The building officially opens Friday, though tours are being given daily.

“I love it,” development director Wendy McDonnel said. “The windows are amazing. There’s so much light in here.”

The new east-side center includes an enlarged space for Active Generations’ Day Break services, which offer guided care for individuals with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or other diagnoses that do not allow them to be home while their caregivers are away.

Beninga estimates it will be half-full the day the doors open.

“The choice of most people is to stay at home … they want to age in place and at home, and they can do that when they’re spending days with us during the day and spending time at home at night,” he said. “It gives caregivers needed relief. Two-thirds of caregivers don’t last as long as the person they’re taking care of, which is sad, and can be prevented if they have alternative options.”

The Day Break area includes everything from a quiet space with a fireplace to areas for playing game or doing artwork.

Throughout the building, “every room is pretty much multipurpose, and we can do a lot of different things in most of the rooms,” McDonnel said.

“We can do a fitness class but also a seminar or meeting.”

There’s an expansive fitness center and a bar studio to help with balance. Flexible classroom space offers a variety of potential uses.

The dining area allows adults of any age, member or nonmember, to come for lunch, which is $5 and served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., starting Friday. While some of the programming is geared toward seniors, membership at Active Generations is open to anyone 18 or older and can be used at both locations.

“We still do all the meal prep at the main location because that’s our corporate kitchen,” McDonnel said. “And our Meals on Wheels drivers will be able to pick up at this location and the other, especially when the weather gets dicey.”

And, of course, there’s pickleball.

The new location includes indoor and outdoor courts, and both will be open for play beginning Friday.

“There’s not really too many indoor courts at all (in Sioux Falls),” Beninga said.

The area also is expected to be served by a future bike trail connection.

Hiring for the new location is going well, McDonnel said. Positions are still available within the administrative area, and more volunteers are needed for everything from activities to Meals on Wheels.

The building, which was designed by ISG and built by Henry Carlson Construction, came in “nearly under budget, which is incredible,” Beninga said. A ribbon-cutting is set for Oct. 10, with a mixer starting at 4 p.m.

Regular hours will be the same as the west-side location: 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Next up: Finishing the final stages of fundraising and assessing what’s needed to retrofit the west location with updated fitness equipment and pickleball courts. View the story on SiouxFalls.Business.