Senior center facility under way in Pelham

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Pelham became the first city last week to take advantage of a new senior community center initiative offered through the Shelby County Commission.

The Shelby County Senior Community Center Construction Match Initiative offers cities in the county opportunities to receive matching funds for buildings designed to enhance civic activities for county seniors.

According to Shelby County Manager Alex Dudchock, the county’s senior population is growing rapidly, and Pelham recognized that early and applied for the program.

&uot;Give them (Pelham) credit for preparing for the increasing numbers, as well as the current population over 65,&uot; Dudchock said.

According to U.S. Census figures, 8.5 percent of Shelby County’s total population in 2000 were over the age of 65.

The Shelby County Planning Commission expects the county’s senior population to more than double within the next 10 years.

The Shelby County Commission approved $200,000, the maximum amount available, for the new senior community center in Pelham.

Pelham will match the money through several other sources, including grants.

The new, 6,000-square-foot facility will be located on a 4.8-acre tract of land on Racquet Club Parkway in Pelham. Dudchock said the location is ideal in terms of the large number of seniors living within a short distance, as well as its proximity to amenities such as the racquet club and the new, Fun Go Holler Park, which will feature a walking trail.

Barbara Roberts directs the Pelham Public Library, which hosts the city’s New Pioneers senior group.

She said the new senior community center will cater to senior needs with exercise and game rooms, as well as a kitchen and covered entrance.

Pelham has not yet solicited bids for the new center, but Roberts said the city has secured funding from a variety of sources.

So far, Roberts said the city has been approved for $200,000 from the county senior center matching grant, $150,000 from the Shelby County Community Health Foundation, and $30,000 from a parks and recreation grant from the county.

She said the city will match the $200,000 from the county senior initiative plus the remainder of the center’s costs.

Shelby County municipalities interested in applying for the Shelby County Senior Community Center Construction Match Initiative should contact Chris Hershey at the Shelby County Department of Development Services