Senior center swings open doors to renovation

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 5, 2000

From swing dancing poolside to a gospel concert in the lunchroom, the Natchez Senior Citizen Multi-Purpose Center was buzzing with activity Tuesday. More than 200 people attended a holiday open house at the senior center to help celebrate the completion of extensive renovations.

More than $600,000 in renovations have been conducted during the past 18 months, updated the 87-year-old building that is a gathering place for senior citizens.

Edward T. James, 89, who taught and coached at the former school, said the restorations have successfully returned the building to its original state.

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&uot;It’s the same except for the rooms,&uot; he said. &uot;Instead of having children in them, they’ve got senior citizens.&uot;

Sabrena Bartley, senior center executive director, said she was relieved and excited to see the renovations completed.

&uot;If any of you were in here two years ago, you’ll see it was truly a remarkable task and you’ll know why we’re so excited today,&uot; she told guests.

&uot;I’m going to brag a little bit now and say that the Natchez senior center is the best senior center in the state of Mississippi,&uot; she said to applause from seniors.

Adams County Supervisors Virginia Salmon and Darryl Grennell also delivered comments about the success of the senior center. &uot;It’s a great day,&uot; Salmon said. &uot;This grand old building deserved some attention.&uot;

Grennell said he believes the senior center will not only benefit senior citizens, but the entire community which looks to the older generation to serve as &uot;historians.&uot;

Alderwoman Sue Stedman said the rehabilitation of the once-vacant building into a senior center was one of the first projects she was greeted with after being elected eight years ago.

The building was considered a L.U.M.P. — a large, unused municipal property — by city officials. &uot;I don’t think it falls into that category anymore,&uot; Stedman said. &uot;It’s probably the most used building in the city.&uot;

Ward 6 Alderman Jake Middleton said he was pleased to see the renovations, which were delayed many times, finally come to closure.

&uot;It was kind of slow, but we overcame a lot of hurdles and now our seniors have something to be proud of,&uot; he said.

Former senior services directors Barbara Byrne and Frances Trosclair originally petitioned the city to locate senior programs and services in the building.

&uot;It’s such a good solid building. It had such potential,&uot; Byrne said. &uot;I just knew the building could be beautiful.&uot;