It might have come a day late but New Site Mayor Phil Blasingame is still happy.
Blasingame told the New Site Senior Center last Wednesday he didn’t have any news to share about a grant for renovating the center. But Thursday morning Blasingame received word New Site has been awarded a $177,460 grant for the project.
“Today is good; I got good news,” Blasingame said. “It would have been great to share (Wednesday) with the seniors but it is still a great day.”
The town will have to provide matching funds of about $35,000 which Blasingame said the town has in reserve.
Blasingame said the renovated senior center will help other projects the town has in the works.
“I think it will complement the clinic and pharmacy well,” he said. “Hopefully the seniors will take advantage of the clinic and pharmacy. Hopefully those who will use the clinic will take advantage of the senior center.”
The renovations will include a ramp from the upper parking lot to the building, a new awning and returning windows that were removed according to Blasingame.
“McKee & Associates have drafted the improvements,” Blasingame said. “It is already handicap accessible. It does comply with code but could be a lot better.”
Other work will include turning a classroom into an exercise room and renovating the kitchen area currently used by the seniors. Blasingame said a new stove, freezer and refrigerator will be added in addition to some cabinet work.
“It will be vamped up,” Blasingame said. “It will be kind of a commercial kitchen.”
It is not the first time New Site has applied for the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) Community Development Block Grant.
“We applied last year,” Blasingame said. “We were unsuccessful but we kind of expected it. It was a new program.”
Since opening, seniors have flocked to the old New Site Elementary School building turned senior center. Blasingame credits center director Jan Kennedy and the seniors for making it a success and for the grant award.
“They come out and participate,” Blasingame said. “They are excited about and supportive of the senior center. I wish I could have shared it with them (last Wednesday).”