A new lead has opened up in the Anderson County government’s search for a suitable home for a Senior Center.
As we and other media outlets have detailed for you over the past few years, finding a place with enough space inside, enough parking outside and suitable facilities for seniors has been a difficult, frustrating, and at times, infuriating process. The county purchased the building at 205 Main Street in Clinton in late 2017 for $600,000 after being told it was “perfect” for the seniors’ needs. However, mold and other issues were discovered that made it impossible for the seniors to use the building, forcing them back into leased property on Edgewood Avenue. That lease runs out at the end of this month, and no decision has been made as to whether or not that contract will be extended.
Last month, the Clinton City Council gave City Manager Roger Houck the green light to begin discussing a possible lease of the city-owned Armory building on the Fairgrounds to the Office on Aging for a dollar a year for use as a senior center. Long touted as a close-to-ideal solution, city officials say that upgrading the restrooms and kitchen could cost as much as $100,000, a cost that would likely be passed along to the county. In addition, the city has a longstanding contract with the Fair Association that allows the Armory to be used each year for the Fair, which would force the seniors to have to vacate the building for up to three weeks in July, which could prove problematic for the Office’s grant funding. Additionally, the Armory building is currently occupied by the mechatronics program at Roane State Community College, and will not be available for at least a year until the RSCC program moves to the soon-to-be-constructed TCAT facility in Clinton.
Recently, however, Chris Stephens, the Senior Pastor at Faith Promise Church, sent a letter to County Mayor Terry Frank offering their former home at the front of the Mariner Point subdivision to the county for $500,000. Faith Promise recently moved into property at 1115 North Charles Seivers Boulevard. In the letter, Pastor Stephens says that the building itself was appraised at $780,000 in 2013, and since then, the church has purchased an adjacent 2.6 acres. Current appraisals come in at over $1 million.
Stephens writes that “our willingness to heavily discount the price is due to our strong desire to be a true partner to the community and help to improve the community as a whole.” The letter also states that the church is willing to hold the property and not entertain any other offers through November 30th.
County Commissioner Robert McKamey, who has helped lead the search for a new senior center, says that he will propose during Thursday’s Budget Committee meeting that the county issue a 10-year, $500,000 capital outlay bond to purchase the 8000-square foot building. McKamey tells WYSH that all of the chairs and tables would be included in the sale, as well. Even if the proposal is not recommended for approval by the committee, it could still be discussed and considered when the full Commission meets later this month.
The Anderson County Budget Committee will meet at 4 pm Thursday, October 10th in room 312 of the Courthouse in Clinton, and the meeting will be televised on ACTV—Comcast Cable channel 95 and AT&T U-Verse channel 99—in Anderson County.