Olivia Venable got to see two sides of her life come together in a big way last month. 

Venable, who serves as a Millbrook City councilmember and the director of the Millbrook Senior Center, was alongside her fellow city councilmembers when plans were presented and approved to build a new facility for the senior center in downtown Millbrook over the next year.

“It’s a real game changer for the Millbrook seniors along with everyone around Elmore County,” Venable said. “They are totally ecstatic and just blown away about finalizing the site plan. This is a long time coming to have a facility specifically dedicated for program.”

The program has been using a rented space for the last 25 years, according to Venable, but now it will finally have a place it can used as a permanent home. The layout covers approximately 4,500 square feet, which provides a lot more space for the program that has been rapidly adding to its numbers.

“Right now, there is a real need for this kind of building,” Venable said. “The program has really grown. It’s gone from 34 people to well over 125 participants per day. I’m glad Millbrook wanted to address the needs of their senior population. We have outgrown what we had.”

With the senior population growing in Millbrook, Venable believes the benefits from having a new building will spread to more than just those using the new facility.

“The operation for our program is an extremely important aesthetic for our city,” Venable said. “We have a large population of seniors here and it gives them a safe place away from home to come in with a planned routine that they can look forward to participating in Monday through Friday.”

The new space will provide enough room for plenty of activities for the seniors including an exercise program and an outdoor garden. The plans also have a common area big enough for at least 100 people where plenty of group recreation time will happen such as cards, dominos and bingo.

“You’ve got to have bingo,” Venable quipped.

YMCA at Camp Grant is the local sponsor in partnership with the City of Millbrook. It will be located in downtown on Grandview Road across from city hall and Venable believes that location will help draw in new members once the site opens.

“This one in Millbrook will be a really accessible location,” Venable said. “We live in a centralized area. The surrounding townships — Elmore, Coosada and Deatsville — it’s closer for the people that live there than any of the other cities that already have a center. Location and being in a new facility will be a real big calling card.”

Venable said construction will take six to eight months once the city breaks ground on the project. She believes it will be perfect timing for the city’s seniors who have had to take precautions during the coronavirus pandemic, staying home while not being able to attend any events at the senior center. 

“This came at a great time,” Venable said. “They were just elated. This new senior center will be built and open just in time for these seniors to get back in the world with everyone else. We hope that this virus will have been taken care of and they can get back out and enjoy everything we will have to offer.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.