This October, Park Centre, a WesleyLife community, will celebrate its 25th year and the founders who helped bring the retirement living community from a dream to a reality. Park Centre’s history begins in 1988 when the Newton Retirement Foundation formed. The group consisted of volunteers dedicated to bringing an adult living community to Newton. The group chose to partner with Wesley Retirement Service, Inc. out of Des Moines and in 1990, it was announced that Park Centre was “a definite go.”

The original plans included 48 independent living units, 20 helpful living units, and 30 intermediate-care nursing home beds. The plans were expanded to include 15 more independent apartments before construction began in 1991. Jim Tyler, who served as president of NRF and as a Wesley board member, said at the ground breaking in 1991 that the project filled a need in the community at that time and “The dream is now a reality. We all lit our candles to banish the dark spot we had here”.

The first independent resident moved into Park Center in 1992. Helen Van Dyke moved into Park Centre on June 1 and while her apartment was finished, much of the facility was still under construction. The grand opening was held in September 1992.

Today, Park Centre currently employees 164 people, making it one of the larger employers in the community. The community offers spacious, well-designed one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, as well as beautiful two-bedroom town homes for active adults 55 and over. Residents continue to be active in the community by volunteering on committees and dictating how they want to live; Park Centre finds it very important to let the residents live how they want too. From live music, to art classes, lunch groups, bus trips and shopping – residents continue to live a fulfilling life in a safe, affordable and friendly community.

In addition to being an affordable form of home ownership, residents can also expect exceptional healthcare including Golden Trails assisted living, Garden View memory care, Cheerful Lane and South Sunset Place long-term skilled nursing care, Cardinal Lane short-term rehabilitation services provide assistance for those who need additional support to remain independent.

Additionally, Willowbrook, a WesleyLife Adult Day Center is located at Park Centre. The adult day center first existed as Willis Adult Care in 1985 but became independent in 1989. In 1990, the plans for Park Centre included building a new center and Willowbrook opened in August 1992. The day center ensures individuals who need assistance and involvement during the day enjoy a renewed sense of independence, while also receiving the support and encouragement they need.

The public is invited to help celebrate the founders and heritage of this important Newton community asset at Park Centre’s 25th Anniversary from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. on October 7, 2017.