Wet, icy snow couldn’t stop a celebration 10 years in the making as local government officials and residents gathered for the ground breaking ceremony of the new Clarke County Senior Center. Approximately 70 people braved the slippery conditions to launch the construction phase of the project at the Clarke County Rec Center where the The 5,300-square-foot center will be built.
Officials involved in the project spoke from a makeshift stage and thanked countless people who have helped make this project a reality including Martha Myer who chairs the fund raising committee. Ms. Myer spoke of the accomplishment in broad terms saying,”This is a real celebration of a partnership between the Area Agency (SAAA), Parks and Rec, the County, and the Town of Berryville. It’s going to be a wonderful, wonderful place for all the residents of the County.” She added, “It’s been a long road, but we are finally here.”
The long timeline for the project was a consistent element of the speakers’ comments during the event and was characterized as a point of distinction for the community at large. John Hudson, Chairman of the SAAA’s Board of Directors said, “There were times when we thought this project was running out of steam and there came a point in the project’s life that it was sitting along the side of the road. Then all of the sudden, the SAAA got behind it, the Parks and Rec got behind it, the capital campaign committee got behind it, the Board of Supervisors got behind it, and all of the sudden we started pulling in the same direction. From there it took off and we were able to see this day become a reality.”
Board of Supervisor Member Barbara Byrd has been a staunch proponent of the center and said she was looking forward to the impact the center would have on the quality of life for our seniors and took particular pride in the kitchen and walk-in freezer the new facilities will have.
The project does include more than the senior activities center. Funds were allocated along the way for new offices for the Clarke County Parks and Rec staff. These will be located at the southwest end of the current rec enter. Much needed repairs and upgrades to the rec center are also included in the project. Daniel Sheets, who is part of Parks and Rec Advisory Board, said the project now includes a new roof, new AC system and repairs of the rec center walls.
When the speakers finished, Martha Myer counted down for the group and in unison the jubilant work crew turned over the first shovels full of dirt to launch the project.
After the ceremony, Mayor Wilson Kirby was asked what he thought the new project means to the Town and said, “Like all the other improvements we’ve had, The Barns of Rose Hill, and the new high school, it’s a sign of moving forward, it’s a sign of progress. I’m excited about it. I’m a member of the senior community and am looking forward to this great new center.”
The project is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2012.