County Manager William Wilson Jr. said the delay has to do with the carpeting for the library, which he told county commissioners will not be shipped before March 6. Because of this, Wilson said there will be a “soft opening” to move in staff and volunteers.
He said senior center staff and volunteers were moving into the new building this week and on Monday will begin programming.
“After the new carpeting is installed,” he told commissioners, “then we’ll have the grand opening celebration.”
He said, “This allows use of the facility to get used to it and work out any bugs we may have.”
Registration is currently available for seniors, residents 50 years old and older, to sign up for free membership at the senior center. Seniors will be given cards so they can check in, which will help track and document which programs and activities are being utilized.
Online sign-up for the complimentary memberships is available through June 30, on the Parks & Recreation website, www.spaldingparksandrec.com. Click on “Senior Programs” and then “New Account,” and fill out the forms to register.
Wilson told the commissioners that a $25 membership fee for the senior center is recommended for the new budget, which begins July 1.
The commissioners also took action Monday on three items regarding the new senior center relating to potential revenue from the facility. These included coffee sponsorship program, a vending provider and rules and regulations for the new senior center including rental rates, schedule and guidelines for serving alcoholic beverages.
The coffee sponsorship was tabled out of concern of where it would be inside the building, who some of the sponsors would be and what they would be marketing to the seniors. The commissioners plan to revisit this at their next meeting on March 4.
The board voted to accept the bid from Tara Vending of Jonesboro, over a local vendor, because of the prices and commission. The board approved a two-year contract with a 12 percent commission on items purchased coming back to the county.
Wilson said the only cost to the county for providing the service is the cost of utilities for the machines. He said there are areas in the new senior center designed for the machines, and if they are not being used they can be taken out.
The county also adopted rental rates for the facility, which Wilson said “were comparable with those in the community like the Kiwanis Center, Welcome Center and Event Center.”
After some discussion, and concern about tabling the matter when there are people calling now to rent rooms, the board voted 4-1, with Chairman Gwen Flowers-Taylor opposed, to approve the fees with a requirement for special event insurance. Flowers-Taylor said her concern was that the county does not require the insurance for other facilities and it may make it unaffordable for some.
“A lot of people will look at it and say, ‘I already paid for this, why we got to pay all this money?’” she said.
Commissioner Raymond Ray said the county needs to protect its asset, and Commissioner Chipper Gardner said the county may need to look at the other leases to see if event insurance is needed or not.
“If the rate is too high,” Gardner said, “people won’t use it.”
County Attorney Jim Fortune recommended that the commissioners approve it for now, since we’ve “got people in line dying to give us money,” and Fortune added “we can tweak it later if we need to.”
County officials said there were at least 10 people waiting, as of Monday. Other requirements include paying $25 an hour for a security officer, either a Spalding County Sheriff’s Office deputy or Griffin Police Department officer, for after-hours events, with a two-hour minimum.
The rates for the banquet hall are as follows:
• Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to midnight, $600 rental with a $300 security deposit.
• Saturday, $1,000 with a $500 deposit.
• Sunday, $800 with a $400 deposit.
All reservations must be paid at least 10 days in advance, with the security deposit in cash or check. Cancellations must be made at least 72 hours in advance to avoid loss of deposit and rental fee.
During business hours the banquet hall may be rented on Tuesdays and Thursdays only by civic clubs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $100 per week, with a contractual agreement for the entire year, with rental fees due at the first of each quarter. Civic clubs must provide their own meals.
The conference room is also available for rent in four-hour blocks at $100 per meeting or eight hours at $200, if available. Security fees apply for after-hours rentals.
Alcoholic beverages are permitted during special events, subject to lease approval and proper permitting, including a licensed alcoholic beverage caterer. Alcohol may only be consumed in the banquet room, conference room and verandas, but is not permitted in the rest of the building, parking lot or sidewalks, and no open containers shall be carried from the senior center.
The main lobby entrance will be utilized for all events, and cooking of food is not permitted, as all food preparation must take place off premises and the lessee is responsible for all clean-up. Specific use of the banquet hall and/or conference room shall be noted on the application and must be approved by the senior center supervisor.
The lessee shall be liable for all damage to the building and equipment and agrees to idemnify and hold harmless the county for any claims or suits arising from any injury, death or damage to property resulting from use of the building. Should any rental rules be violated, the full security deposit is forfeited.