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County receives $700,000 donation for new senior center
A-Senior Center donation pic 1
From left, Dawson County District 2 Commissioner Chris Gaines, District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett, Betty Ann Bagley, Chairman Billy Thurmond, District 4 Commissioner Julie Hughes Nix and District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Hamby pose for a picture after accepting a $700,000 check for a new senior center. - photo by Allie Dean Dawson County News

Dawson County seniors have something big to look forward to after an announcement at last week's board of commissioners meeting.

Betty Ann Bagley, trustee of the estate of Pauline S. Ivey, presented the board on April 20 with a check for $700,000 to go towards a new senior center facility and programs.

A proclamation read by Chairman Billy Thurmond stated that the donation to the senior center would be "for the construction, furnishing and equipping of a new building."

The proclamation also stated that if any of the donation is left after the construction of the building, that it be used to provide new services and not just to continue existing services.

"The Dawson County Board of Commissioners wishes to accept the donation and to express its enthusiasm and gratitude to Mrs. Bagley and the Pauline S. Ivey Trust for the generous gift," Thurmond read.

The new, additional senior center will be located at Veterans Memorial Park, and will be named the Pauline S. Ivey Memorial Building.

The current director of the Margie Weaver Senior Center, Dawn Pruett, spoke about her gratitude for the donation and the need for senior services in the community.

"It's just so heartwarming, her generous donation to the seniors of Dawson County," Pruett said. "I know I'm going to be there soon, my parents are already there. But it is such a blessing and we are already in the planning stages to build a new center next to the one we're currently at."

Among the new amenities Pruett has planned for the center is Alzheimer's respite care and a large assembly room to plan for the future of Dawson County. She also said she hopes to expand the music, art and other programs the center offers already.

"Our numbers are growing by leaps and bounds...we have already overgrown our facilities that we're in now," Pruett said. "We have a great place and we've kept it up and we've been fortunate to have what we have but with this donation we are going to be able to go a long ways to make sure that the citizens and seniors of Dawson County will have a place that they love and come to enjoy for many, many years."

Ivey died in 2014 at the age of 97.

A longtime resident of Dawson County, much of her estate has been donated to organizations and schools within the county at Bagley's discretion.

Bagley, Ivey's second cousin, came to be the executor after Ivey's daughter Frances asked that Bagley take care of her mother should she die first. Frances did die before her mother, and Bagley took care of Ivey in her later years.

"It was quite the sizeable estate for this little lady, and she didn't have any place to put her money," Bagley explained. "I said ‘let's give it to charity', and she said ‘we will'. I've tried to spread it around and not put it in any one area, to help as many people that I can help in Dawson County. We love this county."

Bagley said she had recently given 15 old, established churches in Dawson $25,000 each. She also said she gave the Dawson County School system $400,000, the University of North Georgia $900,000, and $100,000 to Lanier Tech for scholarships as well as $300,000 in donated property.

The proclamation was approved and signed and the donation was accepted by the commission.