BARLOW - Gov. Steve Beshear visited Ballard County on Tuesday afternoon with some good news for senior citizens.
"We're going to partner with this community and this county and build you a new senior citizens center right here in Barlow," the governor said, announcing a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant.
The grant was awarded to the Ballard County Fiscal Court to build the nearly 4,000-square-foot center at 255 S. Fourth St. The Ballard County Senior Citizens Board is contributing $88,000. Issues with the current senior center on Lake Drive include compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and adequate parking, the governor noted.
"These senior citizens centers, particularly in rural Kentucky, are such an important hub of activity for older people," Beshear said. "Folks can access programs and services, and have a place to gather for social time."
According to Beshear, senior citizens make up 13 percent of the population in the state, but 18 percent in Ballard County. The new center will have an activity room, dining hall, kitchen, office space and room to exercise.
"We're really excited. This dream has become a reality," said Judy Jackson, center director. "We've never had a new building, so this is a really big deal."
According to Jackson, the center is the only one in the state that also has housing available, with 47 apartments available for the elderly and disabled.
The state's block grant program is administered by the Department of Local Government and funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Contact David Zoeller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8687.