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Work begins on Senior center

For almost two weeks now, the corner of Cherokee Street andFirst Street has been abuzz with activity as crews work on makingthe much-awaited Jimmy Furlow Senior Citizens Center a reality.

Making the senior citizens center a reality has been a projectfor the city for several years now, and having crews on the groundsis a great encouragement for those who have done the “groundwork”to bring it to fruition, officials said.

“We’re excited to see this well under way,” said Mayor BobMassengill. “The board has made this a priority for a number ofyears and we’re pleased that the construction has actuallystarted.”

Public Works Director Steve Moreton said the project, which wasslated to begin March 2, was held up the first week because ofrainy weather. He said as soon as the slab is in place, work shouldpick up speed.

“They’re getting the dirt ready for the slab, and the moisturehas been a little high,” Moreton said. “As soon as they get thefootage ready they should be ready to go.”

Moreton explained that in order to put down a slap, the dirt hasto reach 98 percent compaction, and the recent rainy weather haskept the dirt too wet to reach that percentage.

Moreton said as soon as the concrete slab is laid, constructionshould flow a lot more smoothly because what needs to be done isthe kind of work that doesn’t depend on weather conditions asmuch.

“Once they get it out of the ground the rain won’t hurt it,” hesaid. “They’ve got to get the slab poured, and then if it rains andstops, they’ll still be on a good foundation where they canwork.”

City officials hope the center will be up and running by latefall sometime. Original estimates had it opening in late October orearly November.

“We hope that our seniors will be able to use this facility byThanksgiving and we know they’ll put it good use,” Massengillsaid.

Meanwhile, it won’t be only the senior citizens who will benefitfrom the addition of the facility. Computers and learning equipmentfrom Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s mobile learning labs, whichused to occupy the lot, will be relocated into the center when itis opened.

The main entrance will be on Cherokee Street, next to Bob’sSandwich Shop, which officials have said will not need to move forthe project. The lot where the mobile learning labs sat will bepaved for parking.