Part of WACF money will heat, cool facility

Parrish Senior Center gets grant for upgrades

Posted 1/11/20

PARRISH - Visitors at the Parrish Senior Center at 1300 Main Dr. were having a hot game of dominoes Friday - quite literally. 

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Part of WACF money will heat, cool facility

Parrish Senior Center gets grant for upgrades


PARRISH - Visitors at the Parrish Senior Center at 1300 Main Dr. were having a hot game of dominoes Friday — quite literally. 

The air conditioning and the heating have been needing repairs for a while, and a number of other needs have to be addressed. 

Thankfully, a new $19,640 Walker Area Community Foundation grant will help get the facility updated. The foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. 

The facility, housed in the old Alabama Power building, is where about two dozen meals are distributed each day, half of which are served at the building and half taken home as frozen meals. 

Magistrate Jerry Callahan thanked the foundation Friday, noting the funds came through the Don Drummond Family Fund in a "brick and mortar grant." 

"It was brought to our attention that this building was in need of some repair," said Robyn L. James, the Alabaster-based director of development and marketing for the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A), which handles the meals in senior centers.

James said the Town of Parrish applied for the grant through the foundation a couple of months ago. Through M4A, James was the primary person writing the grant application. 

The senior center has been located at the building for 12 years as of March. July will mark the 12th anniversary of the center's director, Betty Higginbotham, who said the building has several needs. 

"I needed a heat pump, and we didn't have an air conditioner nearly all summer," Higginbotham said Friday, saying it was almost 90 degrees inside Friday, which was a warmer day outside as severe weather approached for Saturday. The heating also needs repairs.

Callahan said a new heating and cooling system will be installed, as the old one has been repaired several times.

"We're in dire need of an HVAC heating and air system," he said. "It's very uncomfortable. They prepare meals, play games, quilt, and do things like that. To have to sit down there without any heating and air, it's tough on them." 

Higginbotham hopes the heating and cooling can help boost attendance.

"It slacks down because it is so hot in there," she said. 

"The ceiling tiles have been rained on. Half the lights don't work in the building. We can't raise the (front window) blinds; they've been there way longer than I have," she said. 

Friday, a repairman was looking at the heating and cooling system. Higginbotham noted new lights and blinds will be installed. 

Callahan said Friday the repairs on the heating and cooling should start within a couple of days. A contract was signed on Thursday to also help rewire the center, staring in a couple of weeks. 

Work on the entire project should go quickly. 

"I would think we would have it all done within a month, at the most," Higginbotham said.

Councilman Bubba Cagle said the work was "way overdue" at the center.

"Anytime we can get some grant money to help out our senior citizens is great," he said. "It feeds a lot of people and many people come in here for interaction." 

Councilwoman Roslyn Bankhead said, "I am just enthused about it. It is absolutely wonderful." She said she is learning about so many services and activities, such as domino games, that the center performs that she was not aware of, adding she wished more people took advantage of the facility. 

She noted that one area, decorated with quilts, is even reserved for hand quilting, although officials said that activity is not as active now. However, they are waiting for more quilters to become active to start having quilting activities again. 

Callahan was delighted about the positive upgrades for the senior center. 

"I've been here right at 10 years and this has never happened before," he said. "This is something positive for the Town of Parrish. We're doing this for our seniors, who are the root of our community, so why not start with them? This is a very big advancement." 

Callahan encouraged people to donate to the Walker Area Community Foundation, as funds like that help small towns like Parrish and the area seniors. 

"We are pleased to be a part of the positive work being done in Parrish," said Paul Kennedy, executive director of the foundation. "We are thrilled that one of the component funds of the foundation feels the same way." 

Higginbotham said the senior center is open every day, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Snacks and drinks are offered before lunch is served at 11 a.m.

Only those 60 or older can have meals, but those who are slightly younger can still come for fellowship. A $2 donation for each meal is suggested, if possible. 

The phone number for the center is 205-686-9996.