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Seniors turn out for SPLOST

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Albany senior citizens are urging voters to renew the one cent sales tax. One of the proposed projects on the SPLOST six list is a new $3 million senior center. The center would consolidate all SOWEGA Council on Aging centers and services.

The SOWEGA Council on Aging owns the old Byne School Building. If the voters approve the renewal of SPLOST Six, the new senior center would be built here. Advocates say the aging population in Albany needs it very badly.

Christine Jenkins spends her days at the downtown senior center, and agrees the improved center is needed.  "We are so crowded. We are elbow to elbow. We need more room,"Jenkins said.

About 65 seniors spend their days at the center, which was opened in 1975. Advocates say this is their opportunity to meet expected needs.

SOWEGA Council on Aging Executive Director Kay Hind said "We've never had a visible place that showed how we feel about older people. And we have a lot of them and getting more of them everyday."

Citizens for Common Cents, a community group supporting the SPLOST 6 tax referendum, says the proposed senior center is one of the most important projects. "To pass this SPLOST bill means a greater lifestyle for them. It means living with a greater dignity, and with greater purpose in life," Steering Committee Member T. Marshall Jones said.

The one penny sale tax renewal is expected to generate $98 million over the next six years, and advocates say Albany needs to pass it for improvements. "This is heads. If we support this project we're going to get ahead of the game. This is tails. If we don't support this project, we're going to be trailing. And Albany is better than that." said B. J. Fletcher of the Steering Committee member.

Christine Jenkins says she is voting Yes for SPLOST, because she knows there is no room for more senior citizens at their center.  

If the new senior center is approved, The SOWEGA Council on Aging would move all their Albany centers and offices to this one site, and sell the other properties. They have the plans ready, if the voters approve.

There will be a public forum to discuss the SPLOST tax referendum and priority of projects Monday night at 7:00 at the Albany Civic Center. The referendum on the Ballot for Dougherty County voters in the November 2nd Election.

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