Richmond Senior Center

Susan Kessinger listens to Heather Slone, Richmond Senior Center director, tell about the center’s upcoming events.

With only eight months under their belts, new Richmond Mayor Robert Blythe and the city commission have checked one task off their priority list by approving the purchase of the property on Brighton Avenue to become Richmond's new senior center.

The new center, to be called the Richmond Active Living Center, will find its new home in the one-story facility formerly home to the Appalachian College Association at a cost of $1,895,000 for real estate. The sale also includes an additional $5,000 purchase for personal property that includes tables, chairs, bookcases and computer monitors to name a few.

"After their election, Mayor Blythe and the commissioners, we all talked and determined a priority to upgrade the center was in everyone's top five and they get to say that it is getting done in the first eight months of their term, so that's great," City Manager Rob Minerich told The Register.

Once approved, Mayor Blythe let out a loud, "Yay!" in celebration of its approval.

"I only made two promises -- other than doing what is right -- that we would one, fix Water Street, which is on the way, and two, make a more accommodating senior citizen's center," he said.

"To be able to achieve this in eight months, it's a great feeling," Commissioner Ed McDaniel added.

According to Minerich, the timing for finding the building "couldn't have been better" as the Appalachian College Association were looking to move closer to their student base and leave the facility, prompting Minerich to call about purchasing it.

Because of the willingness of both parties to buy and sell, the transaction could be done without a broker or middle-man, which Minerich said saved the city tens of thousands of dollars.

He said that the building, which was built in 2015, was essentially move-in ready and that the building itself will provide the needed space for future growth.

"This is the fun stuff we get to deal with, it is a win-win for the city and community and the Appalachian College Association," he said. "We are excited about it."

The 11,000 sq. ft. facility features a breakout room, two kitchens, large restrooms and hallways -- which are each ADA approved -- patio space, a garden, conference room and offices.

Minerich said that in addition to those features, the building includes a large parking lot and sits on four acres of land. There is additional office space that can be rented or leased to help the center generate revenue.

"This is an awesome facility for our seniors," he said. "And it gives the opportunity to add additional programs and services and allow for the increasing population of seniors. We're really excited about this move."

The city manager said that the new facility located across from the Richmond Centre off the Eastern Bypass is more accessible for public transport than the center's current location on W. Main Street.

"(The new center) is located in an area where seniors have access to restaurants, the Richmond Centre, shopping and the movie theater," Minerich said. "Having all those amenities in close proximity had a lot to do with our choice."

City officials met with Kentucky River Foothills, which manages the programming and services for the current center, will have a public transportation route which will pick-up and drop-off at the new location.

As of now, the city has no plans for the old center but predicts that the seniors will be able to occupy the new facility sometime this fall.

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.

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