Could Madison County have a multi-purpose community center? That’s what commissioners were asked to support Monday night.

The group took no action and offered no “Yes” or “No” on a proposal from county senior center director Kelsey Tyner and recreation department director Shelley Parham for such a facility. But more discussions are ahead.

Tyner and Parham showed commissioners blueprints for a structure that would house the senior center and recreation department, while offering services to people of all ages, such as a workout facility for county residents.

“It would serve the youngest to the oldest,” said Tyner. “…Everybody’s needs can be met.”

The center would also include an indoor two-court gymnasium for basketball and volleyball with room to host tournaments with up to 1,400 spectators, and a second-story walking track. There would also be a dining hall for events for up to 350 people. There would be multi-purpose rooms that could be used for meetings, conferences and classes. Hot meals would be served at the senior center instead of being transported in every day from an hour-and-a-half away, which would lead to many more people served with fresh meals at the center, Tyner said.

Tyner said the estimated overall cost is $5.3 million, adding that a private donor has pledged $1.5 million. She said the Rotary Club of Madison County has committed to a fund-raising effort of $275,000 for the facility. She said there have been discussions with a landowner about potentially donating property off Hwy. 98 by the recreation department for the new facility.

“If given the green light and with county support, we feel people will contribute,” she said, adding that she wants to see the project controlled in Madison County, not through state agencies.

Commissioners said the presentation was well done, but they also said they’d like to understand what sort of budget increases might accompany the facility with increases in staffing and other costs.

A potential turning lane off Hwy. 98 for the facility was mentioned, and commissioner Derek Doster said he had concerns that the $5.3 million figure could easily be higher with various costs, like a turning lane, saying he’s “concerned about that pricing.”

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(1) comment

Virginia Moss

This is very much a nice-to-have, especially with the current offer of land and money, but Madison County has so many other far more pressing needs that require funds and support before it takes on additional facilities for taxpayers to pay for ongoing. I'd rather see money go to restoring the historic court house, one of the nicest in architectural significance in Georgia, before it is beyond saving. That would cost far less than this proposed expansion.

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