County commissioners, Roxboro City Council discuss senior center options

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The Person Board of County Commissioners and Roxboro City Council heard an update on the current senior center location from Kerr Tar Regional Council of Governments (COG) Executive Director Diane Cox Thursday.

COG operates the Person County Senior Center, and was leasing the building at the former Depot Street location from the city before the center was forced to vacate the building last year due to structural problems.

Cox reported that problems with the laminate flooring at the Perfect Venue, the current temporary location of the senior center, would need to be fixed in order to renew the lease in March and keep insurance on the center. Otherwise, the center would need to seek another location at the end of the lease agreement.

Cox named several possible locations the center could relocate to on a temporary basis, citing the pros and cons of each.

She said the landlord of the Perfect Venue site agreed to pay the cost of materials to repair the floor if COG paid the cost of labor, which would be about $3,800. The landlord also agreed to give the center a lease extension of up to 24 months with no rent increase.

She told commissioners and council that she was going to recommend to the Region K Community Assistance Corporation that the center work with the landlord at the current location in exchange for the lease extension.

This, she said, would prevent the center from having to disrupt activities by moving to another temporary location before finding a permanent one, and would save in moving costs.

Cox said she was also going to recommend that at the end of the 24-month lease, COG stop managing senior activities in Person County if a permanent location for the center had not been secured by then.

Councilman Sandy Stigall said he would be in favor of the center moving to the old Employment Security Commission building at 145 Weeks Dr., which Cox had mentioned as a possible temporary option. Stigall noted the large amount of space and parking available, and felt it would be worth the extra $1,300 in rent each month to move the seniors to a better facility, rather than fix the current building.

Commission Chair Kyle Puryear commented that the commissioners had made a formal recommendation at their retreat to move the center to the Person County Group Homes administrative offices building on South Main Street, and said he had reservations about remaining at the current site.

Commissioner Ray Jeffers said he thought it would behoove the county to take the recommendation of the COG staff.

During discussion of the future permanent location of the center, Puryear said the county needed to begin the process of coming up with a permanent solution, and listed the options recommended by commissioners who responded to his request for feedback. Those options were to renovate the former building on Depot Street; demolish the former building on Depot Street and construct a new building on that site; share the group homes property on South Main Street; or acquire and renovate the old childcare center on Professional Drive.

Earlier in the meeting, Cox said the Professional Drive site would not be an option because of the layout of the building.

Commissioner Tracey Kendrick said he liked the idea of moving to the South Main Street building.

Another option, Jeffers said, would be to create a multiple-use facility with a recreation/senior center, which would accommodate the growing population of seniors and help attract young families to Person County. Councilman Mark Phillips commented that the city would like the facility to be uptown. Both Puryear and Councilman Henry Daniel said they liked the idea of rebuilding at the old senior center site.

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