Elderly group wants SPLOST money - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Elderly group wants SPLOST money

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  SOWEGA council on Aging provides meals and activities for Senior citizens across the city of Albany.

Right now, they have five locations in town. Three buildings are offices, two are senior centers.

They hope to consolidate all of the locations into one building. The organization has the land and the building design, but not a lot of money.

It will take five to six million dollars to build a new, state of the art Senior center that is big enough to house all of the people who utilize the Council on Aging.

Two years ago, Phoebe donated almost an entire lot to the organization to build the structure. They were hoping for SPLOST money to construct it, but as of right now, aren't on the list.

Five days a week, this senior center on Pine Avenue is close to bursting at the seams.

"We are crowded," said 100 year old Mary Taylor.

Seniors come to the center each weekday for a hot meal. For some, it may be the only meal they get.

"This is the only place they get to come is to the center and it's just a wonderful place, a wonderful Christian place for them to come," said Volunteer Colleen Chappell.

For Louise Ward, it's an important part of her day.  "This is our home away from home."

But this is a home they've outgrown.  "I think that will be one of the best things that they can do, to have a larger place," said Taylor.

SOWEGA has received some grants and gifts to go toward construction of the new Senior Center, but they were hopeful SPLOST money would make the biggest dent in the cost.

"From the beginning, we were told we would at least be considered for SPLOST," said Executive Director Kay Hind.

And they were, but no money was allocated for it in the city manager's proposed list of SPLOST projects. Executive Director Kay Hind says if the city is worried they'll have to fund operating costs after the building is finished, they shouldn't.

"We've been in business since 1966 and we have never asked for operational money and never needed it from anything other than the grants we get."

Mary Taylor says the building is a necessity to take care of those who have taken care of the city for all these years. "We're people that helped build Albany. We're just not strangers, we're just old, just old."

And they are hopeful the city will help build them a new place to go.

Kay Hind is appearing before the city commission tonight, asking them to consider contributing more money toward the construction of the new center.

Each commissioner has SPLOST money they can earmark for projects. The Mayor has earmarked his share for the senior centers and has asked other commissioners to follow suit.


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