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Hartselle Enquirer

Seniors get look at new Neel center

An interior view of the new Neel Senior Center prior to Tuesday’s open house. | Clif Knight

The opening of a new, long-awaited senior center created a stir of excitement in the Neel community on Tuesday as more that 75 people got their first look at the Danville Road facility during an open house observance.

The audience included 22 seniors who reside in the Neel community and are active participants in the Morgan County Commission on Aging program for senior adults 60 years and older. They said goodbye to their temporary meeting place in the old Neel Fire Department and then boarded a bus for the short trip to the new senior site.

“It’s beautiful and we’re going to enjoy meeting here,” said Dorothy Lake. “We’ve been looking forward to this day for three years.”

The center is located on the same one-acre lot where the old Neel Senior Center was located several years ago. It consists of a large meeting room with new tables, chairs, a sofa and two power lift chairs, a complete kitchen with commercial appliances and two handicap accessible restrooms. It also has a safe room, paved parking lot and a covered front entrance drive through.

District 2 Commissioner Randy Vest, who worked closely with the construction project, said the facility cost approximately $320,000, of which $250,000 came from a Neighborhood Improvement Grant, which was secured through the efforts of State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, and State Rep. Mickey Hammon, R-Decatur.

“The facility was a long time in coming, but it will be a vital asset in meeting the needs of seniors and others who attend,” Vest stated. “We’re very pleased with the outcome.”

Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long thanked Debra Rains, director of the Commission on Aging and Vest for the work they put into the senior center project.

“This is something you’ll be proud of for years to come,” he told seniors in the audience.

Vest acknowledged the support the project received from former commission chairman John Glasscock and former District 2 commissioners Faye Sparkman and Ken Livingston and thanked them.

Orr also thanked Glasscock and Livingston for their leadership in getting the project off the ground.

When the leadership changed in the county commission office this project didn’t miss a beat,” Orr said. “That’s a testament to the kind of leadership we have in Morgan County.”

When those in the audience were given the opportunity to speak, Mae Sue Wallace said, “There are no words to explain why we’re here, but we know God is in it.”

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