Aldermen OK plan for senior center

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Those awaiting the upcoming Jimmy Furlow Senior Citizens’ Centernow have something to focus on, as the board of aldermen Tuesdaychose a floor plan and set a tentative completion date for thefacility.

Mayor Bob Massengill said the project could be complete by theend of 2009 if all goes well, based on estimates by architects.Aldermen were presented two floor plan possibilities, with theunderstanding that project coordinators believe the building wouldbest be put at the south end of the current parking lot just northof the courthouse.

“I understand everyone could have an opinion of it needing to gosomewhere else, but we can have a good-looking building byChristmas of next year,” he said. “I’m hoping you’ll see fit tomove forward with one of these floor plans.”

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Aldermen chose the second floor plan presented, one that put thekitchen in the middle of the building and an option for a meetingroom that can be divided into two separate rooms with equal kitchenaccess if needed.

Massengill said there are also plans for a covered walkway from theparking lot to an entrance at the back of the building, as well asa wrought-iron bar fence with brick columns.

The main entrance will be on Cherokee Street, next to Bob’sSandwich Shop, which Massengill said will not need to move for theproject. The lot where Copiah Lincoln Community College’s mobilelearning labs now sit will be paved for parking.

Massengill said Co-Lin will be asked to move the trailers.

“We’ll let them use one of our rooms for their computers, andhopefully they’ll use that room when they teach Spanish or basiccomputer courses,” he said.

The tentative timeline set out by JBHM Architects has boardapproval of the bid in mid-January, with an eight-monthconstruction period to follow. Project completion is expected inNovember or December 2009.

“This can be something that is one of the most positive things ourcommunity has done for our seniors,” Massengill said.

Aldermen also discussed the possible acceptance of a plot of landnext to Brookhaven Funeral Home and across from the old hospital onWhitworth Avenue. Landowner Bonnie Thornhill told Massengill she’dlike to give the land to the city since she is now living in anursing home in Hattiesburg.

“She said she’d love to see something like that in this location,”said Massengill, referring to the possibility of a nursing home onthe site.

Aldermen discussed the possibility of talking to Gayle Evans, adeveloper who has expressed interest in building an assisted livingfacility downtown, about the land.

Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell suggested accepting the landpending an environmental study, a process routine before developinga plot of land.

“I think this is a very generous gift,” said Ward Six AldermanDavid Phillips.

Ward Three Alderwoman Mary Wilson agreed, calling the donation “ablessing.”