Polk considers helping Saluda Senior Center pay to enclose deck

Published 11:19 pm Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Polk County Board of Commissioners is considering helping the Saluda Senior Center pay to enclose the center’s outside deck.
Commissioners met July 8 with commissioner Tom Pack putting the item on the agenda. He said personally, he’d like to see the county meet the senior center in the middle and pay half.
Saluda Senior Center Board of Directors Chair Karen Bultman first approached commissioners during their budget discussions requesting help from the county. Years of moisture damaged the deck and joists because the deck was constructed with untreated wood.The senior center had always planned to completely enclose the structure.
Bultman said although final estimates have not been completed on enclosing the space, it is estimated at approximately $48,000.
Plans are for the deck, which currently has a roof over it, to be completely enclosed, including windows and heating and air conditioning.
“I think we should partner with them,” Pack said. “I don’t know if we look at 50/50… in some form or fashion we need to help the senior center in Saluda.”
Commissioner chair Michael Gage said he went and looked at the damage and said the floor is falling in due to it first being designed to be an indoor space. Commissioner Ray Gasperson said he’s never been opposed to partnering with the center in Saluda but suggested the county come up with a policy on how to help organizations requesting money.
“How do we deal when approached with these questions for help,” Gasperson said. “Maybe we need to consider some sort of policy.”
Interim county manager Marche Pittman was asked where the money could come from if commissioners decided to pay half the costs. Pittman said the money could either come from the county’s fund balance or from discretionary funds.
Bultman said the porch has since been repaired with approximately ¾ of the joists having to be replaced. She said with the enclosed space, senior center board members believe it can generate more revenue and more programs and continue to be self-sufficient. She said all she is asking is for a portion of the taxes that are generated in Saluda.
About 10 years ago the Saluda Center purchased the former fire department buildings on Greenville Street to create a center for the community. The senior center includes a room upstairs with bathrooms, a kitchen, the part-time director’s office and an alcove for residents to use two computers.
The downstairs is used as a space for yoga classes and spillover from upstairs. The Thrifty Barn is located behind the main building and helps generate revenue for the center.
Bultman also told commissioners the senior center plans to replace the Thrifty Barn’s roof this summer, which has been estimated at $10,000. The board of directors is made up of volunteers and currently has six members. The thrifty barn and programs are also run with volunteers and operating revenue comes through sales from the Thrifty Barn, fundraisers and donations.
The county pays the part-time director’s salary. Commissioners plan to decide whether or not to help fund the senior center’s project during its next meeting on Aug

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