Aldermen select site for proposed seniors center

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A senior citizens center that city officials and others haveworked on is one step closer to reality, Mayor Bob Massengill toldthe Board of Aldermen Tuesday night.

Massengill said architect Joey Henderson is working up a costestimate for the city so there will be an amount to put on theapplication for a Community Development Block Grant through theU.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which will fundthe senior citizens center.

The board approved a recommendation to use the city land justnorth of the government complex as the site of the proposed seniorcitizens center.

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Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron said he recalled the land beingworth $175,000 shortly after he took office. Given the appreciationover the years, the mayor said it should be a substantial amountthat the city can put toward the grant’s matching funds.

Massengill pointed out one of the perks was the proximity to theBoys and Girls Club, saying the seniors could help with tutoringand the children could also be a part of programs that would helpbenefit the seniors.

“It would be good for the kids to be interacting with someone’sgrandma or grandpa,” said Cameron.

The lot is currently being used as a parking lot since nothinghas been developed since it was bought as a potential site for anew city hall in the 1990s. Massengill pointed out that there is aparking lot to the southwest of the government complex that isnever full, and that vehicles that regularly park in the vacant lotcan relocate there.

The proposed senior center will be one floor to accommodate theneeds of senors, Massengill said.

In other city business, the city also discussed bidding outcontracts for the maintenance of Interstate 55 Exit 40. The mayortold the group that once he started thinking about how many peopleit would require and the extra machinery that would need to bepurchased, he thought it would be worth talking to contractorsabout pricing as well.

Ward Four Alderwoman Shirley Estes said she thought the processshould move forward immediately, as warm weather is on the way.

“I’d like to see us not slow down on this,” she said. “Spring isalmost upon us. Easter is almost here.”

She said she thought the maintenance should be done twice amonth through the warm months of the year, and then once a monththrough the winter months.

The board voted to approve bidding out the contract pendingwording. Massengill told aldermen to feel free to stop by to lookat the potential ad, and if they have no major changes to be made,the ad will begin running.

“Let’s get this ball rolling,” he said.