On Wednesday, October 21, designs for the proposed Macon-Bibb Senior Citizens’ Center were revealed to the public and it appears the former location where folks had previously applied for or renewed their driver’s license here in Macon– the old Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) building at Central City Park– is now the consensus choice for the long awaited Senior Citizens’ Center. The proposed 11,000-square-foot facility would be approximately half the size of the current Adams Street center. The former Department of Motor Vehicles building which had been closed for years would be demolished in an effort to clear room for the proposed senior center. Macon-Bibb has $2.5 million budgeted for the project and now these tentative plans will go in front of the Board of Commissioners on November 10th.
One of the supporters of the Central City Park site is community activist and senior citizen Leroy Thomas. Thomas was quoted in The Macon Telegraph and wanted to encourage fellow senior citizens to attend the November 10 committee meeting at the Macon-Bibb County Government Center.”We need to show up so they can see that you approve of what’s being presented to them so we can get this show on the road.”
Bruce Morris, project manager with Sizemore Group, hopes to complete the project by early 2017. Morris told Central Georgia’s NBC affiliate, WMGT-TV the following:
“What we’ve done is we’ve developed the design using that DMV and we could do in the building that would have the programs they wanted and how we could take advantage of the yard space around the building.” “We’ve been given a budget and so we are designing the building to meet that budget,” Morris said.
Finding a site for the proposed senior citizens center has taken a little longer than expected.
In April, a concerned, determined group of senior citizens protested outside of City Hall in an effort to oppose the proposed selection of the Bloomfield recreation center as the new site for a Macon-Bibb senior citizens center. One of the voices who stood up on behalf of senior citizens was former Bibb County Commissioner Lonzy Edwards who explained that seniors want a facility of their own and prefer a downtown location. The downtown location is preferred over South Bibb because it’s closer to hospitals and the sheriff’s office.
Edwards, a local attorney, is also representing some of the senior citizens in regard to their dispute with the proposed site of the senior citizens center. A petition was presented to commissioners that had 1800 signatures which opposes the Bloomfield site.
“They’re not being heard. They’re not being listened to. They’ve been petitioning, they’ve been asking to be part of the process and that’s simply been ignored,” Edwards told 13WMAZ. “We want justice for seniors, people who are being marginalized, kicked to the curb and who are being disrespected in their best years. So I look forward to the fight.”
However, six months later, it seems progress has been made in regard to senior citizens center.
“All the facilities and amenities that he has in this presentation, I’m quite sure we’ll be happy with it,” said Thomas.
“We have come a long way and now it’s time to build something,” Thomas said.