County budgets $3 million for new senior site

April 18, 2003|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

While proceeding with nearly $175,000 in renovations for the South Carroll Senior Center, the county has also included $3 million for a new center building in the 2005 budget.

The renovations, funded by a combination of state and county money, will begin soon, but "they are basically just a Band-Aid to get them through the next few years," said Jolene Sullivan, director of Carroll County Department of Citizen Services.

"We are going to modify the building now, but we need to look for a new facility," she said. "The commissioners have the foresight to know what is needed."

The 60-year-old, one-time school building on Bartholow Road will have a new entrance, a spacious kitchen, a deck, larger rooms and updated offices. Plans call for improvements to the cinderblock exterior, landscaping, additional parking, new lighting and furniture, and a softer-colored paint for the walls.

"We are prioritizing renovations because the need is immediate," said Frank Johnson, special assistant to Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge.

Johnson said the commissioners are so committed to the new center that, if possible, "they are talking about it in the '04 budget."

The South Carroll center is heavily used by the more than 500 seniors registered there and by about 70 other community organizations. Several retirement home complexes have been built recently in South Carroll, which includes Eldersburg and Sykesville and is the county's most populous area. The population projections and the level of use at the center helped the county secure some state funding, officials said.

The county has not yet settled on a building site for a South Carroll center, but it is considering several possibilities. The project would require about 2 acres.

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