Heavy rains stall Polk adult day care opening

Published 6:38 pm Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Recent rains have put a real damper on Polk Countys adult day care center opening.

Construction has been near complete for a while, but paving cannot be done due to wet weather.

Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson says the wet dirt outside the facility has made it impossible to pour the road. Contractors have been waiting on dry weather to pour a driveway, cul-de-sac and parking lot for the facility.

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The adult day care center was once scheduled to open around mid-May, but no definite opening date has yet been set due to the delay in construction.

Polk County has renovated the building behind the new Meeting Place that moved last year to the former Carolina Classical School off Skyuka Road near Columbus to house the adult day care center. The county purchased the over 20 acre property last year and decided to move the senior center there, in an attempt to get all county departments out of the aged Jervey Palmer building in Tryon. Once the new property was purchased, the community rallied to begin an adult day care center in Polk, and commissioners decided to provide the building.

The county approved a lease last year to contract running the center out to Rutherford Life Services, which runs a similar facility in Rutherford County. The county will provide the building, but all services, employment and liability will be handled by Rutherford Life Services.

The adult day care center will be named after Betsy and Don Freeman. Betsy Freeman was instrumental in getting an adult day care center in Polk County as Don was in need of one. Don Freeman died last year as renovations to the building were underway.

Whitson said this week that contractors were ready to go with paving the driveway about two weeks ago when the constant rain began. He said the problem is that the dirt will not compact due to it being so wet underneath. A covered drop off point for clients is also awaiting construction. All inside renovations have been complete, including renovating bathrooms and adding a shower inside as well as adding a sprinkler system.

Whitson estimated that once the outside work can begin, it should take about three months to complete. Whitson said he plans to speak with contractors soon to see if something can be done to get the dirt dry and started as soon as possible.

County officials have expressed their eagerness to get the center open due to what they say is a great need in the county.