Two members of a special sales tax committee say they’re concerned that the planned site of a Macon-Bibb County Senior Citizens Center is susceptible to flooding.
The Macon-Bibb County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Advisory Committee discussed Monday the plans to build the new senior citizens center in Central City Park likely to open in 2017. The committee agreed to provide information about potential flooding to the County Commission, which approved the master plan for the 11,000-square-foot facility in December.
Engineering drawings for the center are expected to be completed in about 30 days.
Committee members Lindsay “Doc” Holliday and John Swint said they want commissioners to reconsider placing the facility inside the park. Another viable option is the nearby corner of Walnut and Seventh streets, which is on higher ground.
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Holliday cited a Macon Telegraph article where a government official said that the July 1994 flood could have been worse around Central City Park if the breach of the levy had been in a different location. The flooding led to homes, businesses, roads, bridges and more being wiped out around sections of Macon.
“We’re putting ourselves and our future in an unnecessary hazard,” Holliday said. “It doesn’t make sense putting millions of dollars and people’s lives down there.”
The majority of seniors who have been involved in the process of the new center have been adamant about wanting the building to be inside Central City Park, Macon-Bibb SPLOST coordinator Clay Murphey said.
The site is not on a floodplain, and there’s no guarantee that the area would face severe flooding, Murphey said.
“(The Senior Citizens Center) has had a constituency that has followed it, has been kept on it and been very vocal,” Murphey said.
The process of getting a new center has faced several challenges “to the point where it almost felt like the project was snake-bitten,” said Jeffery Monroe, chairman of the SPLOST Advisory Committee.
“It seems as though once the Central City Park site was mentioned, that was something (seniors grabbed) onto,” he said.
The county currently has $2.7 million set aside for the center. The building would feature rooms for various programs, a warming kitchen and dining room. There also would be an exercise room, multipurpose room and space for arts and crafts.
The outdoor space would include a gazebo and garden.