AZTEC — On Tuesday, commissioners will decide whether to spend $150,000 to give the Senior-Community Center a full facelift.

The building's exterior walls have cracked and deteriorated, requiring repairs to its parapet walls and stucco coating.

Originally, the project was designed to only repair and re-stucco the building's exterior. But the tops of the walls were in such bad shape the initial work could not be done.

"I wanted to paint the outside, to replace the drab, typical stucco tan color, which led to the discovery of the need to replace the parapet first before re-doing the stucco walls," said Center Director Cindy Iacovetto. "It's all part of our efforts to revitalize the center aesthetically, drawing more people to our home and encouraging more events."

If approved, the project will include parapet repairs, a steel top cap to guard against future erosion and a fresh splash of paint, according to the Aztec Commission's staff summary report.

"'I still have people ask, 'Which building are you in?' and that always is a sad reminder of our drab exterior," Iacovetto said.

She wouldn't say which color paint for the building she hoped would be approved. "My hopes are to have a building that pops, which stucco tan doesn't accomplish," she said.

In her three years as director, Iacovetto said she has made it a top priority to ensure the center's guests have an enjoyable experience.


Recent improvements to the center include new lobby furniture, fresh paint in the library and activity room, a new walk-in cooler, a new kitchen stove, and electrical upgrades to the kitchen, serving area and alarm system.

Exterior security lights and office wiring upgrades are in the works. Iacovetto also has plans to enhance the activity room by getting rid of two of its five pool tables to make room for card tables and possibly exercise equipment.

When she isn't busy effecting change at the center, Iacovetto employs her creative writing skills.

Last year, she wrote a spin-off of the '70s country-themed television show "Hee Haw" called "Yee Haw!" which features a character, Minnie Garnet, a not too subtle reference to Minnie Pearl, one of the show's stars.

"Many of our seniors had asked for us to put on more performances on our stage, so I wrote the play," she said. "All the proceeds have gone to fund our ongoing improvements at the center."

Another popular request from the center's residents is to have an eye-popping flower garden along the building's southern side.

"Our secretary just so happens to be a master gardener, so those plants will bloom soon," she said.

With many upgrades and ideas for improvement on her calendar, Iacovetto would also like to see more people of any age come through the center's doors.

"It's been a challenge to get people to think about the Senior Center as also being a place for the entire community to use and enjoy," Iacovetto said. "We're available to rent for parties and events."

Viewed from the air, the building resembles an accordion, but from the curb, it befits its Southwestern locale with numerous arched entryway and windows.

"It's an amazing building with angles and arches and it would be a shame to keep it the same drab color," she said. "I would like to see the building with a facelift so that when people inquire about the center, people will say, 'Oh, you mean that beautiful building?'"

The Aztec Senior-Community Center is located at 101 S. Park Ave. Call 505-334-7617 for more information.

James Fenton can be reached at; 505-564-4621. Follow him on Twitter