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Jackson commissioners approve funding request to repair Savannah community building

By Kristin Fox

At this week’s regular meeting of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, county officials unanimously approved a request from the Savannah Community Development Center Board of Trustees for much-needed repairs and upgrades at the community center. The board approved an allocation of a little over $9,000 to make repairs to the center’s ceiling and parking lot.

Last fall, a large number of ceiling tiles fell during a function at the center. Luckily, no one was injured, but the situation prompted the board of trustees to come before the board to request help with making the necessary repairs to the ceiling.

The ceiling tiles will be replaced with sheetrock, which will correct the problem as well as provide a safer solution for the ceiling. Mike Patterson, who was the only contractor who submitted a bid for the project, will complete the work.

Total cost of the project to repair the ceiling, including labor and materials, is $4580.

The second area of concern at the community center is the parking situation at the center. The center has very inadequate parking with only one handicap accessible parking space. While the space works well for handicapped visitors to the center, it is also inadequate as the center serves as a voting precinct for Jackson County. During elections, elderly and handicap citizens have long waiting periods before the can cast their vote, because there is only one handicap parking space.

Costs for the parking lot project is $4536 covering costs of stone and labor. Scott Farmer Grading, Inc. will complete work on the parking area.

In addition to the immediate needs at the center, the current board of trustees has a vision for other improvements at the center.

The vision is to provide the Savannah community with a resource that is both adequately geared to serve the community and a place the community can be proud of associating with in the Savannah area of the county. Over the years, the building has become quite run down.

The center’s board are working on and hoping to see the center qualify to apply for and receive grants and recognition from the WNC Communities so we can “pay it forward” to our community in the future.

Some of the current concerns and goals of the trustees are:

  • Community involvement – by planning and having community projects that the entire community can feel welcome and be a part of community involvement.
  • New HVAC system – the current “system” at the center consists of two very old gas heaters and two small window unit air conditioners. The board has discussed a ductless mini-split that would solve both the problem of energy and financial efficiency. It would also include dehumidifier properties.
  • Renovated kitchen area – the center’s current kitchen is very dilapidated and difficult to sanitize. The goal is to remodel the kitchen so the center has a bright, clean and efficient kitchen that will be easier to keep clean. Mold, mildew and age have rendered the current kitchen very run down.

According to Jackson County Manager Don Adams, there are multiple community centers within the county. The county does own a few of the community centers, but the majority of them are owned by non-profits. The Savannah community center is one that this is owned by a non-profit. 

“We do allocate funding on an annual basis to our community center,” said Adams. “We give each center $1,500 try to assist the community centers with just general maintenance, but occasionally these community centers do have higher needs that just the 1,500 will cover.”

“I am familiar with the community center,” said Vice Chair Todd Bryson. “Our family has had many family reunions there. It is in rough shape so I am definitely in favor of helping them.”

“Our community centers throughout the county are really the heart pulse of the communities, and we as the commissioners historically have given that support at less than $10,000, so I feel like it’s a request we should approve. Let us get their parking right, especially since it is a voting precinct. Most Saturdays the community center is packed, and they are parked in the grass. I think fixing the parking lot will be beneficial for the community center.”

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