Dawson County seniors received great news last week when they learned that the county was awarded federal assistance to build a new senior center.
Senior Services Director Dawn Pruett applied for the Community Development Block Grant in the spring, and heard on Aug. 24 that the county will receive $750,000 to make the dream of erecting a new senior center next to the existing Margie Weaver Senior Center a reality.
The county was given donations amounting to around $944,000 by Betty Ann Burnett on behalf of the Pauline Ivey Trust in 2017, which Pruett said sparked the vision of the new center.
“I would like to thank our clients, staff, elected officials and the community for the letters of support when applying for the grant,” she said. “This, along with the donation from the Ivey family, played a major role I’m sure in receiving this award.”
The county will be accepting the grant in October and plans to break ground for the new facility in 2019.
The current concept plan shows a new 4,800 square foot expansion to the right of the existing center. The single-level building will be connected to the existing center with a covered breezeway.
“We have outgrown our current facility due to increases in all programs and activities,” Pruett said. “Our plan is to utilize both buildings to serve the needs of our clients.”
Planned for the new facility are a multipurpose room for lunch and special events, a game room with computers, a movie room, a commercial kitchen, lots of storage space, a conference room and an Alzheimer’s respite care room.
“Family members can bring their mother or father or someone that they’re looking after to spend a couple of hours daily to give the caregivers a break, help with memory and get the Alzheimer’s patients out of the house,” Pruett said in April. “We get a lot of questions from citizens coming in wondering if we have Alzheimer’s respite care and we do not, so that was the big thing we wanted to focus on in this new building.”
The current Margie Weaver Center will contain all of the recreational activities for the seniors, including art, jewelry making and exercise classes. The exercise class will move up from the basement into the current dining and event space on the main floor of the center, while the arts and jewelry classes will be able to take over the former exercise room, giving both programs a much needed expansion.
Sixty Georgia communities received $40 million through the block grant program. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allocated the funding to Georgia’s Community Development Block Grant program, which is administered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.“Strong and prosperous communities enhance the quality of life for citizens and generate economic development opportunities across the state,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “The CDBG program enables cities and counties to direct federal funding to address critical community needs and revitalize the local economies that need it most. By investing in smaller cities and rural areas, we are preparing an even brighter future for all of Georgia, maximizing opportunities for citizens and further solidifying Georgia’s position as the No. 1 state in the nation for business.”