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Progress continues on new senior center

It is simply a matter of time before area seniors will beenjoying fun and fellowship at the new senior citizens centerdowntown next to the government complex, and there are plenty ofspokes in the wheel as it gets to turning.

First of all, the facility, which the Brookhaven Board ofAldermen voted to name the Jimmy Furlow Senior Citizens Center, nowhas a director.

Nancy Ray, 23, of Hattiesburg, will be at the helm of thecenter. She brings with her a degree in therapeutic recreation fromthe University of Southern Mississippi, and experience working forassisted living facilities in Hattiesburg. She said she andBrookhaven Recreation Department Director Terry Reid areimplementing some ideas that will be put into place once thebuilding is open to the public.

“The senior citizens here need more opportunities for recreationand leisure,” she said. “This will be a good opportunity for themto do some social networking.”

Reid said there has already been a lot of interest in what is upand coming for the center, which will be a little longer in openingbecause the exceptionally wet fall has held up some of theconstruction. So in answer to the public interest, recreationdepartment officials have planned a public forum for Nov. 10 at10:30 a.m. at the recreation department to allow area residents togive their ideas, ask questions and just generally do someinformation gathering on what the new center will have instore.

“We know we’ll have computers and game days, advanced andbeginner art classes,” Reid said.

Most of the classes at the complex, which has been completelyfunded by grants and budget money provided by the city, will befree, Reid and Ray said. Some will have a minor fee, however, tocover instructor or supply costs.

Meanwhile, there will also be opportunities for adults age 50and up to leave their mark on the center. One of the classes thatwill be offered is a gardening class.

“We’ll have a sitting area and garden spot out back, and we’llhave classes on gardening where they can plant stuff in thegarden,” Reid said. “They’ll be able to weed and maintain thegarden too.”

Copiah-Lincoln Community College will provide the computers andsome of the instruction, Reid said, and other parts of thecurriculum will be built around feedback from the Nov. 10meeting.

And while the project was scheduled for completion on or aroundNov. 15, it now looks like it could be later than that thanks toweather-related construction holdups.

“We hope it’ll be complete by the end of the year,” Raysaid.

Reid said the senior citizens center will be an importantaddition because there really isn’t anything for older adults to dofor recreation in Brookhaven at the moment.

“We’ve never had anywhere like this before,” he said. “This isthe first time we’ve every had anything for seniors, and it’scentrally located in the middle of town. Right now baby boomers arebecoming senior citizens, and there’s more emphasis on having aplace of their own.”

In addition, recreation department officials said, with twoassisted living facilities planned for building in Brookhaven, ithas become more important that the retirement community have a drawfor retirees.

“There needs to be a place that’s not a kid place,” Reid said.”This will be a place designed specifically for seniors.”