Ballard County get funding for new senior center
Barlow - Governor Steve Beshear visited the Senior Citizens Center in Barlow on Tuesday to present the Fiscal Court with a check for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) in the amount of $500,000 to build a new senior center in Ballard County.
"I'm happy to announce we at the state level are going to partner with them [Senior Citizens Board and the Fiscal Court], and I've brought a check for $500,000 to partner with this community and with this county and build you a new senior center right here in Barlow," announced Governor Beshear.
According to Beshear, senior citizens make up 13% of the population in the commonwealth, but seniors make up 18% of the population in Ballard County. “So we’ve got a lot of seniors that need the services that a very nice senior center can offer,” he said.
Beshear noted that senior centers, particularly in rural Kentucky, are important hubs of activity. He said seniors need access to programs and services. They need a place where they can gather to have social time. Unfortunately, according to Beshear, the current building is not quite up to the task in terms of providing all the amenities that are needed in Ballard County. “It doesn’t meet a lot of ADA accessibility guidelines, so folks that have mobility problems have problems utilizing this center,” he said.
The new, nearly 4,000-square-foot, facility will include an activity room, a dining hall, a kitchen, office space, and an exercise space. Beshear cited the exercise space as especially important since health statistics in Kentucky are not very good. “We can do better, and part of that is taking responsibility for ourselves and learning how to take care of ourselves so that we can manage our conditions,” he said.
Tony Wilder, Commissioner of the Department of Local Government, was instrumental in getting the community development block grant (CDBG) for Ballard County. He pointed to leadership in the county, stating, “You don’t have a better or more effective advocate than Vickie Vinaird,” he said.
Wilder also noted that Kentuckians are fortunate to have a governor that recognizes the needs in rural Kentucky and who is willing to provide resources to address the needs to improve the quality of life of everyone in Kentucky, particularly rural Kentucky.
Senior Center Director Judy Jackson said having a new building is a big deal. “There’s so much needed with storage, and we’ve just outgrown it,” said Jackson. “We’re really excited. This dream has become a reality,”
Barlow Mayor John Wood took the time to recognize the Barlow family for having set aside the 30 acres on the south side of town to be used to serve the community. Wood also mentioned Barlow residents Jerry and Connie Moore who had bought the property to hold for the city for the purpose of building a new senior center, knowing they would not make a profit. “It’s really a community and county investment,” said Wood.
Among those in attendance at the event on Tuesday were Ballard County Judge/Executive Vickie Viniard, city and county officials, and members of the Fiscal Court, Senior Center Board, and community.
Construction of the new facility will begin this summer with hopes of it being completed in 2015.