Simpsonville is planning a roughly $650,000 renovation of its senior center on the edge of downtown using federal development and state grant funds.
The project would include renovating the center’s community room into a dining area, upgrading the building’s kitchen and adding an outdoor space to allow community meals to be safely offered there, according to City Administrator Diana Gracely.
Earlier this year, Simpsonville began a meal distribution program based out of the center in which seniors could pick up one hot and one frozen meal three times a week. Gracely said the program has been widely successful.
But because the facility has no outdoor seating and the prospect of a group of seniors eating together in a room amid the pandemic raises safety concerns, those participating currently have to take the meals home with them.
The proposed renovation would allow Simpsonville to expand and improve the meals program, which Gracely said serves a large portion of southern Greenville County.
“We’re not putting restrictions on it where you would have to be a Simpsonville resident to sign up for the program,” she said. “We’ll take as many people as we can with the available funding for congregate dining once we get the facility up and running.”
At a meeting Tuesday, City Council unanimously approved the plan to use about $300,000 in federal community development funding it received through Greenville County for the project. Gracely said the city receives the funding annually, and is using a portion of last year’s distribution for the project as well.
The city is in the process of applying for up to $350,000 in funding from the South Carolina Department on Aging for the remainder of the necessary funding, Gracely said.
“The senior center that we have is funded entirely through the city budget,” she said. “So we thought, it’s time for other partners to help make improvements to this building because we’re serving the senior population.”
Follow Conor Hughes on Twitter at @ConorJHughes.