Already well-attended at its location in the Russellville Housing Authority, the Russellville Senior Center is now poised for a growth spurt.
Relocated last week from its 2,400-square-foot quarters on Day Street, the senior center and some other programs administered by Community Action of Southern Kentucky now have an 11,000-square-foot location in the former home of the Logan County Public Library.
The building at 201 W. Sixth St. had been mostly vacant since the library moved to a new location on Armory Drive in 2014, but a collaborative effort involving Logan Fiscal Court, the city of Russellville and Community Action revitalized the building.
Because it was built with funding from a bequest by Russellville native Thomas Pritchett deGraffenried Jr., the library building had to be used for an educational purpose.
DeGraffenried, a successful New York attorney, bequeathed about $1 million to Russellville for the education of its citizens upon his death in 1961.
“When the library moved, that building reverted back to the city,” Logan County Judge-Executive Logan Chick said. “We spent a year or two wondering what to do with it. It had to be some sort of educational purpose.”
With exercise classes and other enrichment activities taking place at the senior center, it made a good fit for the educational purpose and was a growing program in need of a larger home.
“Our senior center had high usage,” Chick said. “They would have 30 or 40 people there at a time, getting meals and taking part in activities. This new location has so much more to offer. I look for attendance to really take off.”
Chick said fiscal court pumped $200,000 into the building. The city of Russellville used insurance money to make needed repairs and also provided much of the labor for those repairs. A $25,000 grant from Russellville’s Carpenter Foundation provided furniture for the building.
The end result, according to Community Action interim Executive Director Don Butler, is a building that will house an expanded senior center along with a community services office that will provide such programs as assistance with energy bills, a food pantry and a clothes closet.
Butler said the senior center will provide hot meals on site and also deliver meals to shut-ins. It will be utilized for exercise classes and other recreational and educational activities.
In addition, Butler said the new center will be equipped with five computer terminals that seniors or other residents can use for job searches or electronic communications.
“It really is good for the people of Logan County,” Butler said.
Chick agreed. “The new center is in a good neighborhood with a lot of retired people close by,” he said. “I’m just glad the city and county were able to work together and help our seniors.”
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