Genevieve DiNatale @cnb_DiNatale
CRESTVIEW — Oliver Wade’s band, Belles and Beaus, performs every Saturday at Crestview’s Senior Activity Center; their gathering purportedly is the only scheduled activity that evening at the facility.
However, Wade, 78, and his band mate have told the News Bulletin that various individuals have advised them to leave the center at their regularly scheduled time, or were otherwise prevented from using the center after their arrival.
The reason — an amphitheater roughly 300 feet adjacent to the senior center, to them, takes precedence over the seniors’ activities, and Belles and Beaus often have to perform at the same time as artists at the amphitheater, who audibly drown them out.
Wade said performances at the amphitheater are scheduled without notice from officials at the Department of Public Works, which oversees the senior center. On one occasion, Wade said, his band was even told to leave after they had set up their musical equipment, so people at the amphitheater could count their group’s ticket money in the senior center.
The News Bulletin reported on this issue last month, but has anything changed, in Wade’s view?
“… Wayne Steele’s [the public services director] response [was] that he always gave us notice…” Wade said, adding he doesn’t believe that’s been the case.
Steele told the Bulletin that time is of the essence; conflicts arise when amphitheater performances are scheduled on a Friday, and city workers lack enough time to tell Wade and his band mates by Saturday.
Wade also said that when he initially set out to schedule a time for Belles and Beaus to perform, Steele said they didn’t have any evenings available on a log.
“He implied when I was in his office that he had a log and the secretary said, ‘we’ll check and see,’ after I didn’t leave right away and he said they didn’t have any nights open,” Wade said. “So I hung around until ‘lo’ and behold’ they had Tuesday evenings open and no one was going there on Tuesday nights …”
Wade says that at the time he went down to the senior activity center to see if any seniors were using the center in the evening — just to check — and no one was there for six nights straight.
That led Wade to question something.
“I would like them to explain if they have a log or not,” Wade said. “If he has a log, I would like to know how come he said no nights were open during the week when I proved that there were no people there any night of the week. The lights were off, the doors were locked.”
The Bulletin contacted Steele informing him that the paper was writing a follow-up to Wade’s initial complaints and asked him if there is a ‘log’ of activities at the center.
In response, he said he could not immediately interview; and, he said, “… I have NOT received any comments or we haven’t been contacted by anyone from the parties using the senior center, before or after the story was released.”
At the Bulletin’s request, the assistant director of public works, Chuck Powell, provided a copy of the center’s log, a calendar of activities at the senior activity center. The only evening activity scheduled at the center was Wade’s band, Belles and Beaus, on Saturday nights, according to the document.
Wade hasn’t returned to the center to request another nighttime activity for seniors because no one has responded to his most recent request to join an evening writers group.
“I haven’t been back up there to try to get a nighttime spot because I put the word out there for a writers group and didn’t get any response from the old folks so I just gave that up,” he said.