Members of the South DeKalb Senior Center don’t like the building where they gather for meals, recreation and fellowship.
“We are in line for a new center and that brings us great joy and pleasure to know that it’s coming,” said Sandra Harris, during a DeKalb County Board of Commissioners meeting. “However…we are presently housed in an old outdated funeral home.”
The seniors’ days in the old funeral home are numbered after a vote by commissioners to build three senior centers at a total cost of approximately $11.3 million. The centers will be built in south, central and north DeKalb.
The South DeKalb Senior/Community Center will be built by Possibility Construction Inc., of Johns Creek at a cost not to exceed $3.32 million. The building will be located at 1931 Candler Road in unincorpated Decatur.
“For years, the seniors at the center have utilized what once was a funeral home, and with this award, in about a year the south DeKalb seniors will have a facility that they have helped to design and that they deserve,” said Commissioner Larry Johnson.
The new Scott Candler Library that opened Aug. 20 is a part of the complex, which will also eventually include senior housing.
The budget for the North DeKalb Senior/Community Center is up to $3.13 million. Talbot Construction Inc., of Suwanee was awarded the contract for construction of the building to be located at 3393 Malone Drive, Chamblee.
Brenda Matthews said there is “a need for a new North DeKalb senior center.”
Seniors “want and deserve to come and have a place to develop relationships with others because being at home alone is very, very disheartening,” Matthews said. “We need a place to come to enjoy each other’s company, to eat and play games and just hang out, as the young people say.
“We like to do that just like the young people do,” Matthews said.
The senior complained that the process was taking a long time.
“I have sat through several meetings, looking at plans and discussing and developing and voting and we know that the property has been purchased,” Matthews said. “However there seems to be some sort of roadblock. I’m just here to figure out what the roadblock is.
“We’re old,” Matthews said. “We can’t wait forever. We want a senior center.”
Commissioner Lee May said, “The commission has not been dragging its feet. We are proposing to spend $11.3 million for these three senior centers.”
The senior centers first appeared on the Board of Commissioners’ agenda July 10.
“It’s appropriate for us to take our time as a commission to make sure all the questions are being answered regarding the design of the centers and any other questions,” May said. “Yes, we have taken our time. The [county’s] administration has been dealing with this for two years. This board has been dealing with this for a month and some change.”