Lt. Gov. Abramson joins community leaders to make announcement
RUSSELL, Ky. (April 4, 2012) – Governor Steve Beshear Wednesday announced a $500,000 grant for the creation of a new senior center for Russell-area senior citizens. Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson joined state and local officials for the announcement, at the site of the current Russell Senior Center – the Old Train Depot at 501 Ferry St. in Russell. The Community Develop Block Grant (CDBG) will allow the city to renovate another buiding –the former Rail City Hardware store site at 520 Bellefonte St. – to be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); it will contain a kitchen, sitting area, library, office space, and a large dining and commons area.
“We want our senior citizens to have a safe place they can call their own in Russell,” said Beshear. “It’s important that they have proper space for their acitivites and interests, and this grant will help the city renovate a building for just that purpose.”
The building currently housing the Russell Senior Center consists of very small, choppy rooms that minimize space and openness, and is difficult for seniors to navigate. The building does not meet current ADA standards. The current center averages around 25 meals per day of operations, but due to the limitations of size, the center cannot serve all its seniors. As a result, volunteers assist by providing carry-out and delivery service of approximately 60-100 meals per month. The new building will more than double the size of space for local seniors, maximizing the center’s potential as a hub of socialization and enhancing the delivery of affordable meals and services in the greater Russell area. The Russell Senior Center is primarily focused on the needs of city residents; however, seniors from Ashland, Flatwoods, Bellefonte, Greenup, Worthington and Wheelersburg, Ohio, will also be able to utilize the center.
“With a significant portion of area residents 65 and older, it’s only fitting that the state help fund the restoration of this building that will house critical services for our seniors in this region,” Abramson said. “The downtown location will offer a central location that will be easily accessible for seniors and care providers.”
The city will convert the old train depot, which currently houses the senior center, into a much-needed storage space for the city, said Tony Wilder, commissioner of the Department for Local Govement (DLG).
“We have received a great deal of public input and many expressions of local support for this new senior center project,” Wilder said. “The citizens of Russell will be well served with the addition of this modern, spacious and safe facility designated specifically for seniors in the community.”
“We appreciate the Governor and the Department for Local Government helping us to renovate and upgrade our new senior center here in Russell,” said Russell Mayor William Hopkins. “The new center will help us better serve our seniors in many areas that will improve their quality of life.”
The project will not only provide a senior center, but it will also give life to a significant downtown building and bring more activity to the great downtown area, Rep. Pullin said. “I appreciate Gov. Beshear and Lt. Gov. Abramson’s assistance, too! This is an example of working together for a win, win,” she said.
The state’s CDBG program is administered by DLG and funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Kentucky’s Congressional leaders’ continued support of the CDBG program ensures the availability of continued funding in Kentucky and nationally.