County options 205 Main for Senior Center

Anderson County Commission approved a $5,000 down payment/holding fee for 205 Main Street in Clinton for a possible location of a new senior citizens’ center.
For Anderson County seniors, it has it all: 122 parking spaces, tables, chairs, furniture included, storage, a four bay garage, plenty of space — 15,461 square footage — and its location is Main Street in Clinton, the heart of the city.

Anderson County officials are currently eyeing the 205 Main Street Complex as a potential site for a new senior center.

The current senior center on 195 Edgewood Avenue in Clinton is too small, and the seniors are in need of more space.

Anderson County Commission voted 16-0 Monday night during the Anderson County Board of Commission meeting to appropriate $5,000 for a sales contract with Michael Farley, Clinton attorney and rental property owner, to go towards the purchase of the 205 Main Street Complex in Clinton for the new Anderson County Senior Center.

Commissioners referred to the building as “the Farley building” in their discussions Monday night.

Although the vote was not to purchase the Farley building — the asking price is $600,000 — the down payment on the property was to lock in the sales contract with Farley and stave off competition from another bidder for the property while county officials consider the future of the senior center.

In addition to the Farley building, the county is also looking into the feasibility of relocating the seniors to the Clinton higher education and workforce training facility (also referred to as the old armory building) on 214 Nave Street in Clinton.

The $5,000 for the Farley sales contract comes from donations to the senior center, county officials said.

Also: “The Farley building would give the senior center a steady revenue source for many years to come,” said Anderson County Law Director Jay Yeager to Commissioners on Monday.

Yeager was tasked last week by the Senior Center Task Force with writing a sales contract with Farley with an option to purchase the property “with right of first refusal to present to County Commission at the April 17, 2017, meeting to hold the property until July 1, 2017.”

The Senior Center Task Force--made up of Commissioners Steve Emert, Robert McKamey, Rick Meredith, and Phil Warfield--met on April 10 to discuss whether or not to purchase the Farley building and use it as the new senior center.

Minutes for the Senior Center Task Force were included in the Commission meeting agenda packet for April 17, but where and when the task force met were not listed.

The minutes read that the task force voted “to forward to Commission the request to proceed with an appraisal of the [Farley] property.”

Yeager informed Commissioners on Monday he had already ordered the appraisal for the Farley building to be conducted.

If the county decides on the Farley building for the senior center, he said the senior center could bring in more than $15,000 in revenue, and explained that the current revenue stream at the property is as follows: the driver’s school pays $900 in rent per month, the school bus parking pays $350 a month, there is athletic event parking available, social hall rental that could generate $30,000 to $50,000 in revenue annually, and several events have already been booked for the coming year.

According to Yeager, Farley is asking that the county close on the property before September 1, 2017, but has agreed to allow seniors to use the building for events after July so they can begin adding revenue to their budget.

“It’s a perfect location. There’s plenty of parking and event room the exact same size we need. We could work with it. As far as size and location it’s a perfect fit for us,” said Anderson County Senior Center Director Cherie Phillips to Commissioners at Monday’s meeting.

“We’re really excited about this opportunity,” Phillips said.

The only modification to the building they would need to do--which would be minor--would be to move the front doorway to the back for better access, she said.

“The seniors will pay any additional costs as far as future obligation for the senior center? Will the money come out of funds you generate?” asked Commissioner Myron Iwanski (Dist. 8).

“Yes, if that’s what it takes,” responded Phillips.

“I just want to make sure we’re not obligating ourselves to extra expense down the road,” added Iwanski.

The money generated from the revenue stream would go into the senior center budget, explained Commissioner Robert McKamey (Dist. 5), a key advocate for the senior center.

“I think it’s a win-win for the seniors, especially with the 122 parking spaces,” commented Commission Chair Steve Emert (Dist. 3).

Commissioners voted unanimously to pay $5,000 to enter into a sales contract with Farley, and with the approval, they directed Yeager to put the sales contract in place.