The beautiful James P. Nix Center of Fairhope, Alabama, named by the city council in honor of the citys mayor of 28 years, officially opened its doors December 1, 1997. In the ensuing years, this unique center has increased its membership from approximately 650 to over 1,800. People from every state in the union have visited, as well as people from Japan, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Sweden, Guatemala, and France. Contingencies from other states have come from as far away as Michigan to see this center and to gather information on how to build a successful Senior Center.
Several things make the James P. Nix Center unique. First, the city owns the center and put 2 million dollars into creating it. Second, local businesses sponsor programs with money and time. Third, over 30 capable volunteers handle all kinds of tasks and create a smooth operation. Fourth, one member, Ms. Doris Chennell, generously furnished about 80% of the buildings antiques and fine furniture, which lend such a special touch.
Elegance and quality are two words that come to mind when one enters the Nix Center. There are lovely crystal chandeliers in the entrance foyer, rotunda, and the ballroom; there are soft oriental rugs in the conference room; the large gilt-framed mirrors in various places reflect the lovely floral arrangements and paintings; the quiet mood in the library is conducive to sitting with a good book or reflecting on life; and the richness of the mahogany furniture in the card room welcomes the daily bridge and canasta players. Many members proudly bring visiting friends and relatives to tour the facility, where the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. Each guest is greeted as they come in the door and southern hospitality is plentiful; the coffee pot is always on!
Interesting artifacts fill the Nix Center, and add to its quality decor. In the library is Napoleonís Sword, created in Spain by famous goldsmith Martin Biennais in 1809. Also in the library is a copy of The Accolade, a painting showing an accolade ceremony conferring knighthood in medieval times, by E. B. Leighton. Over the front desk is a bas-relief of Anahita Flight Of Night by William Morris Hunt. There are several Italian pieces of furniture throughout the Center, and several ìItalian Gardens, which are wooden half-rounds, used during the Renaissance by landscape architects to display their colorful plans. In the card room, there are china cabinets displaying lovely hand-painted china pieces done by members of the Center.
Social programs for seniors are aimed at educating and informing, as well as entertaining, to enhance the quality of their lives. Some of the programs offered are: Tea Time at Two (which includes a variety of informative speakers), To Your Health (which brings medical personnel in to speak), potluck lunches, bridge (party & duplicate), canasta, dominos, pool & billiards, ballroom dancing lessons, line dancing, support groups, ice cream socials, birthday parties, blood pressure screening and much more.
The Center also provides weekly shopping for homebound seniors.The Nix Center also sponsors ballroom Cabaret Dances twice each month, where seniors and their guests can trip the light fantastic to the big band sounds of various musical groups.