Wednesday, October 26, 2016

TOP STORY >> New Lonoke Senior Center

Leader staff writer

If all goes as planned, 2017 will be a busy year for Lonoke County Council on Aging. In addition to the recently announced refitting of the old Cabot library at 506 N. Grant St. to serve as the future Cabot Senior Center, the LCCA announced this week the construction of a new Lonoke Senior Center.

“We’re pleased with this development,” LCCA executive director Buster Lackey said Monday.

Also, the LCCA plans to start preparing the meals it serves to seniors within the next few weeks.


The next 18 months or so will be demanding as his staff tackle two major construction projects, he said.

Renovations at the Cabot Senior Center should begin by Jan. 1 and will be done in two phases ending in late 2017.

“It doubles the space,” Lackey said. The new Cabot Senior Center will be about 8,000 square feet.


Concurrently, the groundbreaking and construction will begin on the $700,000 Lonoke Senior Center on 1.5 acres on the corner of Hwy. 70 and West Academy Street.

Robert M. Schelle of Cabot is the architect on the Lonoke project.

The 5,517 square-foot senior center will be on the lot where the Lonoke Community Center’s soccer fields are now located, adjacent to the Community Center.

“We’re not taking the kids’ soccer fields away,” Lackey stressed. Instead, the soccer fields are being moved to the other side of the Community Center and this will give the kids more area to play.

The city donated the land for construction of the senior center, saving the LCCA about $20,000 and will help with site prep work, which will save another $150,000, Lackey said.

“It was a big deal,” he said about the city’s help.


“We’re building it (the Lonoke Senior Center) in two phases,” Lackey said.

Phase I will include the construction of the three offices and a conference room, storage space, a dining hall and activity center. Phase II includes a commercial kitchen and more storage.

The conference hall will be rented out for meetings, parties, family reunions and other events.

Phase I will be paid for in part by a $200,000 Arkansas Economic Development Community Grant, plus a $350,000 USDA low-interest, fixed-rate 40-year loan.

“That gets us started,” he said, but in order to pay for Phase II, expected to cost approximately $150,000, LCCA staff will start looking for grants.

Once the kitchen is completed, he said they might consider building a greenhouse and raised beds for gardening for their members.

Lackey said if a potential and large donator is interested in naming rights to the new facility, to give him a call.

Phase I should be completed by the end of 2017.


Lackey said that as the number of seniors continues to increase, the need for services becomes more vital.

Annual numbers for 2015, included serving 32,954 Meal on Wheels’ meals, in-center meals totaled 17,422 and adults transported to medical appointments, shopping and day trips numbered 4,887.

Without services such as those provided by LCCA, Lackey said seniors have little choice but to enter into a care facility or move close to their children.