The Leroy Rogers Senior Center will soon be expanding after receiving a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant for the project.
At Monday evening’s regular City Council meeting, Director Fran Kinchen told council members that she’s very excited about the renovation and expansion of the center which will give senior citizens something more to do.
According to a press release, the state CDBG program provides an essential resource to Georgia’s smaller more rural communities in their efforts to support projects that will create jobs and assist low and moderate-income citizens. More than $33 million is being allocated for CDBG awards that will be used to support capital projects in 69 Georgia communities. Projects include the upgrading of water supplies, the provision of basic sewer services, health facilities, senior citizen facilities, flood and drainage improvements and other neighborhood revitalization projects.
The Georgia Department of Community chose the Leroy Rogers Senior Center as a recipient of the $500,000 grant for expansion of the senior center facility. Plans are for the expansion and renovation of the center, benefiting more than 1,000 persons of low-to moderate-income. The project provides $579,073 in match and leverage funds. The matching funds were provided by area voters via the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax IV and V referendums.
Kinchen told the council the grant will allow the city to provide the proposed expansion which will include a larger assembly room, as well as space for additional services for area seniors — arts space, computer lab and media library, medical space for informal means, etc. and additional area parking and drainage improvements.
“The city of Tifton is excited to bring this project to fruition and looks forward to its use by our area seniors and all citizens of the Tifton community,” Kinchen said. “A groundbreaking ceremony will be announced in the coming days, and the public is invited to attend.”
As interim manager for the Tift Theatre, Kinchen informed the council that Mark Marple of Tallahassee, Fla. is being recommended to serve as the marketing production show consultant. She said Marple has agreed to do this job for free for a couple of months. Fifty applicants were reviewed.
Kinchen noted Nov. 9 is the set date for the grand re-opening of the theater.
In addition, Main Street’s Economic Development Director Lequrica Gaskins gave an update concerning training workshops for small businesses. She said she was asked to come up with training classes for small and independent businesses in the community. She sent out surveys to get feedback from business owners and found that they were interested in several different topics, including legal issues.
Gaskins said the workshops are expected to start next year. Interested small businesses and independent business owners are welcome to stop by the Welcome Station in downtown Tifton to fill out a survey. They could also have them e-mailed or faxed.
In other business, City Manager Larry Riner gave a brief update on what’s going on around the city, and two public hearings were held before the meeting (city of Tifton Text Amendment TA13-000-002, Section 4.03.18(B) of the city of Tifton Land Development Code is to be amended to strike and omit from said section the minimum setback requirement from residential zoning districts for vehicle sales establishments; and zoning change from residential-10 to mobile home park for property located on South College Circle and owned by Travis Hurst to be included with South College Circle Mobile Home Park).
To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.