City-funded expansion adds meeting rooms, offices
Clarksville, TN – City of Clarksville officials dedicated Wednesday a major expansion of the Ajax Turner Senior Citizens Center, which will provide more space for programs and services for the center’s growing number of seniors who drop in for meals, activities, classes and recreation.
“This is a great day. This beautiful facility will help more of Clarksville’s senior citizens live healthier, more active and more interesting lives,” Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan said. “This shows we are extending Clarksville’s prosperity into all corners of our community, and ensuring quality of life improvements for all of our citizens.”
The $2.5 million addition was funded by the City of Clarksville, and the new 17,000 square foot, two-story facility includes a large meeting room for 60 people; a smaller meeting room for 20 people; a classroom; two crafts rooms; a nurse’s station and three offices.
The addition also enables better use of some of the center’s existing space. For example, with new crafts rooms in the addition, more tables were added to the popular existing billards room.
Anita Atchley, executive director of Ajax Turner, said the center serves an average of 220 seniors a day, and demand for services is soaring. Atchley and Robert Thompson, the center’s Fiscal Director, thanked Mayor McMillan, the City Council and the City’s taxpayers for the great level of support for the Senior Center.
The center’s leaders gave McMillan a commemorative T-Shirt displaying the motto: “Clarksville 50+ Activity Center: Where strangers become friends and friends become family.”
“We’ve been praying for this project for several years, and Mayor McMillan, the Council and the Good Lord allowed our dreams to come true,” Atchley said. “This new space will allow us to grow and serve the people who need and want what we offer.”
The dedication event was attended by Senior Center patrons and staff, City Council Members, City Department Heads; and Ginna Holleman, local United Way executive.
Among the patrons on hand was Peggy Austin, 81, a lifelong Clarksville resident who comes to the center four days a week for exercise sessions, a nutritious hot lunch, and to socialize with friends.
“The new addition is great, absolutely great,” Austin said. “I spend a lot of time here, mainly to stay active and healthy, and this will give us a chance to help even more people.”
The Senior Center was chartered as a non-profit agency in 1965. It moved to its current location, which is owed by the City of Clarksville, in 1983. The center’s Board of Directors operates it with a combination of City, state, federal and United Way funding, and donations and modest program fees.
The project was designed by Violette Architecture of Clarksville, and A&K Construction, Paducah, KY, was the builder.
Phase 1 of the project – renovation of four restrooms – has already been completed under a separate contract, and still to come in Phase 3, which is under way, are new equipment and improvements to the center’s full-service kitchen and more parking lot improvements.