Senior center seeks grant for renovation, expansion

A Greenwood senior center where residents can take exercise classes and share meals is seeking a grant to renovate and expand after more than doubling its membership.

The Social of Greenwood had about 400 members in 2010. That figure has now topped 1,000, executive director Andrea Sutherland said. Now, the nonprofit senior center is applying for a state grant to renovate and expand its building to accommodate the extensive growth from the past few years.

With more and more people utilizing the senior center’s services, having enough space is quickly becoming a challenge, she said.

Annual membership is $15 for Greenwood residents and $18 for all others. About half of the members come from outside of Greenwood, because there is a lack of places for seniors to gather and meet in Johnson County and the southside, Sutherland said.

Some of the improvements at the senior center, located at 550 Polk St., are a larger place for people to gather for daily programs, more gym and exercise space and increased parking, Sutherland said.

Whether that means adding on to the building or re-arranging the space inside to use it more efficiently hasn’t been determined, she said. What that renovation will look like will largely depend on the feedback from the Springpoint Architects, who will help in determining what improvements will be most cost-effective, Sutherland said.

“It’s just basically taking a building that wasn’t made for this size of membership and making it work for us,” she said.

The Social is applying for two grants from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. The first, a $20,000 planning grant that will pay for Springpoint to create plans to renovate the building, is noncompetitive, meaning the center will get the money as long as the application is filed appropriately, said Greenwood City Council member Chuck Landon, who is the council’s appointed liaison to The Social’s board of directors.

The Greenwood City Council approved filing the grant request on behalf of The Social but won’t be required to contribute any money, Landon said.

That grant requires a $2,200 match, which the senior center already has the funds for, he said.

Once the plans are created, a process that will take about six months, The Social then will be able to apply for a $500,000 grant but will need to provide about $55,000 in matching funds, Landon said.

To get the grant, the community center will have to raise the matching funds, and officials hope two fundraisers coming up this fall will help them get close to achieving that goal. One fundraiser, Purse Bingo, is set for September. In October, The Social will host an auction and dinner.

The nonprofit also is establishing a legacy fund that will allow people to leave donations to The Social through their trust or will, Sutherland said.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.