At the July 15 City Council meeting in Peachtree City, the council, in their attempt to control budget costs, abandoned a proposal to place a bond issue for the expansion of the Gathering Place on the November ballot.
The bond option would greatly increase the cost of the project. The next step in the plan is to ask the consent of the public in the questionnaire distributed by the city in January. It is my hope that by January, the citizens will be made aware of the need for expanding that facility and will reply “yes” on the questionnaire.
Peachtree City has a firm commitment to its senior population. There are many neighborhoods built exclusively for seniors. One of the main benefits of the cart path system is that seniors, who no longer feel comfortable driving an automobile, can travel all over the city in their golf cart.
Almost from its inception, there have been an active group of seniors who engage in various activities and who are responsible for nudging the city to provide the Gathering Place for their meetings.
As a result, the city has won numerous awards as an ideal place for people to retire. Those who move here as a result buy houses, pay taxes and purchase endless amounts of consumer goods.
Statistical projections from the state indicate that the number of retirees coming here will increase and Baby Boomers living in the community will retire to greatly swell the number of seniors. If the city wants to continue to benefit from the money flowing from the seniors, the city needs to remain an attractive place for seniors.
The Gathering Place also serves as a Community Center and as such is used for meeting and private rentals whenever it is not being utilized by the seniors. The Gathering Place has been crowded for years.
A bond issue for expansion was tried and failed and a temporary fix was found in using the Annex. Now the Annex is needed for Tourism and the city has agreed to let us share the facility, temporarily.
If we lose the Annex and have not increased the size of the Gathering Place, some of the existing programs will begin to fail. That shouldn’t happen.
It takes a long time to establish, for example, a really good bridge program, and if it were to fail a large number of people would be without a beneficial activity.
Being active and engaging with other people helps people to remain healthy. The longer we keep these healthy people in their homes and in our stores, the more they help our community and pump money into it. An expansion of the Gathering Place will allow the program there to continue as well as leave the Annex to the Tourism people. A win-win situation.
In the 2007 bond issue for the expansion of the Gathering Place the price was high. It did not pass but it was close. Now the state of the economy is much poorer. We need to be moderate with our request. We need to keep the plan simple and low cost. Furthermore, several groups have offered to help with fund-raisers or soliciting contributions to help reduce the cost to the general public.
The seniors of Peachtree City who regularly use the Gathering Place have a very real need for an expansion of that facility. We hope that if we keep costs to a minimum, the citizens will recognize our need and agree to let the city proceed with the project.
Peachtree City, Ga.