Bulloch County commissioners hope to win a grant that will fund construction of a new senior citizens center to be built adjacent to the former site of Bulloch Memorial Hospital.
The site is a lot that was used as parking for the hospital, located across from Medical Center Pharmacy at the intersection of East Grady and Granade streets, said Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch.
The current senior citizens center is at the Outreach Center on Denmark Street, where senior citizens are served by Concerted Services Inc.
A new center would provide more room and a more convenient location for citizens to access, he said.
“I feel like it is in a better location for people going to the doctor or shopping, and we think it will help fill the neighborhood a little better,” Couch said.
Commissioners held a public hearing Tuesday regarding the county seeking a Community Development Block Grant for $750,000 to build the center.
“We have been thinking about it for a couple of years now and decided in January to apply for the grant,” he said.
The location is quiet but close to several medical offices and is a short distance from downtown Statesboro as well as the commercial district surrounding the Statesboro Mall. The senior citizens center should not intrude on the neighborhood’s quiet atmosphere, he said.
“It is not a high-intensive (entity) and is only open for around 9 a.m. to around 2:30 p.m. or so,” he said.
The facility would be around 6,200 square feet, and the project should cost around $900,000, which would be funded mostly by the $750,000 grant, he said.
Bulloch County Commissioner Curtis Deal said the new facility would be greatly appreciated, as the current center “is dated and they have outgrown it.”
“They would have a new facility to prepare meals; parking would be good and convenient,” he said.
The senior center is where Concerted Services provides a number of senior citizens with services including daily meals. They also deliver meals to homebound citizens.
Couch said no site plan has been drawn up yet, but the building will be slightly larger than the community building at Luetta Moore Park on Martin Luther King Drive.
The grant application was submitted Thursday.
“We should find out (if the grant is successful) in September or October,” he said.
Commissioners are hopeful.
“We feel the grant will be competitive. The (current center) is cramped as far as space, and there are ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) issues,” Deal said. “We are trying to look after our senior citizens and take care of their needs. “
The fact that the county already owns the property is a plus, he added.
“We will be able to turn property that belongs to the county into a nice facility, and we won’t have to pay rent,” he said.
If the grant is successful, another public hearing will be held regarding the proposed project. If not, “we will try again next year,” Couch said.
“It is an overall good thing, and they (senior citizens and their providers) are so deserving,” he said.
Statesboro City Council members voted Tuesday to provide a letter of support for the project and grant application.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.