Sparta has begun the process of searching for applicants with event-planning backgrounds and sociable dispositions to manage its Senior Center.
Sparta Mayor Jerry Lowery said a new Senior Center Board will be appointed on January 1, and will immediately begin sifting through applications. Lowery said there is no timeline for the new hire, but the board will move swiftly to get the new manager hired and get the center back up and running.
“A lot of senior citizens don’t get out a lot through the night, but through the day,” Lowery said. “They can get out and have some comradery and some fellowship and some activities and some exercise programs and things like that that will fulfill some of their needs in their life,” Lowery said.
Lowery said the hiring process has been hampered by an ongoing investigation of the center’s former manager, but the town is focused on looking forward, not back. Lowery said the board will also have to lobby to have state and federal funding reinstated during the search.
“Of course, the city and county are helping financially support it, when we can get some of the funding back that was once there, I think we’re going to have a really dynamic senior citizens center, and that’s what we’re looking forward to,” Lowery said.
Lowery said he would like the hire to be someone local, but all applications will be considered. A qualified Sparta resident with a firm understanding of the community dynamic would be the ideal hire, Lowery said.
Lowery said Sparta Alderman Jim Floyd has been in charge of building upkeep during the center’s hiatus. Floyd is willing to help a newly hired manager with the transition, Lowery said.
“Senior citizens, they are the backbone of the community,” Lowery said. “Most of them have been in the community for a long time. they have spent their lives, they’ve worked here, they’ve played here, they’ve lived here, and they know the community.”
Lowery said the center has seen numerous repairs over the past year as well, leading him to believe that it will be better than ever once operational. Lowery said a candidate with some exercise experience is a bonus as well, noting the importance for the senior community to keep their bodies moving. Lowery said the center is also a great resource for the elderly to be provided a hot meal when they need it.
The former director of the center is under investigation. The board disbanded last month to give the center a fresh start.