Vito Riggi, an 82-year-old Marine Corps veteran, is among a group of seniors who shoots pool to pass the time.
“This is like an extended family,” he said. “Everybody's here as brothers.”
They're playing at the brand new Orchard Park Community Activity Center. The senior wing opened late last month.
“We've been talking about getting into a bigger place, a newer place for years,” said Riggi.
It's a soft opening for the new community center, which combines the old senior center and the town's recreation department at Brush Mountain Park on California Road.
It's 59,000 square feet — about half the size of a typical Target store. Sue Hemingway is the new coordinator there, on board just in time to open up.
“It's very exciting, just seeing the excitement of the folks that have been coming in so far and know that we're going to be adding so many programs and so many opportunities,” she said.
It features a full kitchen and banquet room where seniors eat lunch during the week. There are health and wellness classrooms, and space for fitness classes like yoga and aerobics. Bingo is always a big hit.
“I enjoy it. For me, it's a getaway,” said Dorit Mohorovicic, of Hamburg.
Mohorovicic and her friends are still finding their way around the new building.
“It's bigger, you have more opportunities here, and don't forget we just moved here. We have to learn all the things that we can do,” said Mohorovicic.
And that's just the half of it. The recreation side will open in April, with a double gym for basketball, pickleball, indoor soccer teams, and more.
There are fitness rooms with equipment on the way, and plans for a preschool classroom.
“You're going to have babies through seniors all here in one building and they can do it right here in Orchard Park,” said Hemingway.
A community center in its truest sense.
“There are no strangers, only friends you haven't met yet, and that's perfect for the community. They ought to put that up,” laughed Riggi.
The community center will have a grand opening in June.