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Locust Grove opens multi-purpose center

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Elaine Rackley

erackley@henryherald.com

There is now a $2.6 million event center in the City of Locust Grove. The multi-purpose facility will double as a senior citizens center, and community center.

It is located at 280 Mose Brown Drive.

The event center, acquired through the use of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax III funds, was formally opened, and dedicated, Feb. 13, in honor of Locust Grove Mayor Lorene Lindsey, and her late husband, C.J. "Jake" Lindsey.

"I was real excited over the dedication to me, and my late husband," said Mayor Lindsey. The dedication ceremony was held on the same day of the year as her late husband's burial in 2002.

The words inscribed on the plaque used in the ceremony read: "The Locust Grove Event Center is, hereby, dedicated this 13th Day of February, 2011 in honor of, and as a fitting tribute to, C. J. (Jake) and Lorene Lindsey, dedicated servants of this community and lifelong advocates for the sick, the poor, the aging, and the young."

"She and her husband, Jake, were pioneers in the development of senior activities in Henry County," said District I Henry County Commissioner Warren Holder. He represents the area where the multi-purpose facility is located.

In addition to her duties as mayor, Lindsey, 88, is the chairperson of the Henry County Council on Aging. She is on the Atlanta Regional Commission's board of directors, and also on the Aging Services Committee of the ARC.

The mayor said the center is needed in Locust Grove, because of the city's senior population. "I feel like, now, the seniors have a place to go, gather, and get involved, by becoming active," she said. "We've been waiting on this for about nine years in Locust Grove."

Henry County Commission Chairman Elizabeth "BJ" Mathis agreed with Lindsey.

"Senior services are becoming increasingly important as our baby boomers are now becoming seniors," said Mathis. "Population numbers show Henry's senior population will increase by 266 percent between now and 2030. Having the center in Locust Grove will make providing those services more efficient, and within easy reach of citizens who may not be able to drive to one of the other centers."

Melissa Sloan, of Henry County Senior Services, will manage the operations of the building for the Senior Services Department, and the county's Parks and Recreation Department will manage the facility for rentals and special events.

"We will have the regular senior center activities, like bingo and other games, however, we'll also have special activities, such as tap dancing, exercise classes, tai chi lessons, arts and crafts, ceramics and painting," said Sloan, in a news release.

The multi-use facility will accommodate seniors during the day, and it is available for rental during evenings, weekends and holidays. The two-story, 15,232-square-foot facility features a banquet hall on the upper floor, where meals will be served. Downstairs has a billiards room and multiple class-and meeting-rooms, which could be utilized for a variety of activities.

The money acquired by renting the facility will cover maintenance and operational costs and cover expenses to allow programs for seniors to continue at the center, according to officials.

Moss Developments, based in Stockbridge, was the architectural firm used for the center. For more information on Henry County Senior Services, visit: www.henrycounty-ga.org/seniorservices.