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New senior center just doesn't compare
Richmond Hill Senior Center Director Brenda Garrett, center, snips the ceremonial ribbon Tuesday at the new Ford Avenue location of the senior center with the help of city and county officials, including Richmond Hill City Council member Van Hunter and county commissioners Jimmy Henderson, Carter Infinger and Chairman Jimmy Burnsed, and several center volunteers. - photo by Crissie Elric

Though local senior citizens have been enjoying the new Richmond Hill Senior Center for just over a month now, the public got the chance to explore and enjoy the freshly renovated building Tuesday when the center celebrated its grand opening.
Seniors greeted guests as they entered the building on Ford Avenue near the corner of Highway 17 that was once the courthouse annex. They also visited with local city and county officials, including county commissioners Jimmy Henderson and Carter Infinger, Commission Chairman Jimmy Bursned and Sheriff Clyde Smith.
Burnsed gave a little history of the building, which was built by Henry Ford in the 1930s, he said.
“It’s been used by the county for a lot of different offices, but our senior citizens are growing, the numbers, and everybody knows they needed a much larger facility. So we (the county) were able to convert this facility to a senior citizens center,” Burnsed said.
“I think it’s important because we need to remember our seniors. As I understand the demographics, in the next 15-20 years the number of seniors will double in our area. So it’s incredibly important that we supply opportunities for them to gather together.”
Richmond Hill City Council member Van Hunter also said he was glad to see the seniors happy in the new center.
“I wish my mother was still alive to enjoy it,” he said. “It’s long overdue. I’ve talked with a lot of the members and they are in love with the building and the location.”
Hunter also agreed with Burnsed about the increasing number of senior citizens.
“Jimmy was right, there are about 8,000 people a day minimum turning 65 and older with the baby boomer generation, and this is the least we can do for them,” he said. “I think it’s an awesome thing the county did what they did to provide this building.”
Center Director Brenda Garrett said the seniors have really enjoyed using the facility, and participation has even increased.
“Everybody loves it, they absolutely love it,” Garrett said. “Of course there are things you have to iron out, but everyone is being so cooperative and they’re just happy to have such a nice place to come to.”

Read more in the May 23 edition of the News.

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