Collier House’s fate stirs concerns

Published 11:00 pm Friday, July 1, 2011

The Troy City Council’s decision to declare the Collier House annex to the Colley Senior Complex on Elm street surplus property, paving the way for the house to be razed to make space for a new nutrition center on the site, hasn’t been an easy one.

Councilman Jason Reeves cast the only dissenting vote during Tuesday’s meeting.

“Unfortunately, we are in tough economic times and it appears that the house is structurally sound, Reevea said. “We don’t need to pay someone to take it down. We need to find a way to be paid for what’s in it.”

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Speaking as a layman, Reeves said he wondered if there would be a way to keep the house and place the new nutrition center behind the house.

“Whatever we do, we want to make sure that the programs offered by both the senior complex and the nutrition center are not affected,” Reeves said. “We are dedicated to meeting the needs of the existing programs and to have the ability to expand those programs.

“The senior program is one of the best things that we have ever done. We want to keep the nutrition center and the senior complex adjacent to each other and we need to make sure that we keep both of those programs moving forward.”

Janet Motes, Colley Senior Complex director, said that she and the foundation board feel strongly that the nutrition center should be close by because it is beneficial to both programs to be near each other.

Motes said suggestions that the Collier House be renovated for use as a nutrition center have been disregarded.

The new nutrition center will be constructed through a $250,000 state grant program. The grant requires that the facility be new and that it have adequate parking space. For that reason the Collier House can’t be renovated for use as a nutrition center.

Twenty-nine parking spaces are required for the new building. So, parking will take up much of the “green space” on the lot.

“One concern that I have about the new nutrition center on the Collier house site is that we will be losing a lot of green space,” Motes said. “We utilize that green space for our gardening programs, for outside activities and picnics. The seniors enjoy being outdoors and we’re going to lose much of that space and, therefore, some of our programs.”

Motes said there are positives to the plan. The nutrition center will have its own facility and the Colley Senior Complex will have use of the entire building that now houses the nutrition program downstairs.

However, there are some issues with maintenance, she said.

The nutrition center includes a large meeting room, a kitchen, bathroom facilities and office space.

Motes said the addition space will be a plus, as the senior programs take on addition focus in the next few years.

“We want to continue to provide the best programs for our seniors,” she said. “We will soon be looking at a different generation of seniors as the Baby Boomer become ‘seniors.’ Their interests and abilities will be different from those of the World War II generation era and we must begin planning programs that are geared to their interests and needs.”

The idea of moving the Colley Senior Complex to a different location has been mentioned but Motes said she loves were the senior center is located.

“The center has a history with the Alabama Children’s Home and we host their reunion every third year,” she said. “This place is very special to those who grew up at the Children’s Home. It still represents home to them.

“Our seniors don’t have to cross Highway 231 to get here. We’re located in the center of Troy University and we have a great cooperative relationship the university. All of those are positives and I do feel strongly that the senior complex and the nutrition center be located adjacent to each other.”

Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said he will be talking with all parties concerned and the final decision that is made will be the one that is best for all concerned.