West Knox County Senior Center in Farragut will get a furnished outdoor area compliments of local Rotary Clubs.
The Rotary Club of Farragut and Rotary Club of Bearden have teamed up to submit a Rotary District 6780 matching grant, which was approved in March, to provide the new senior center (239 Jamestowne Blvd.) in Farragut with the outdoor area.
“Oh, we’re really excited,” said Becky Duncan, co-chair of RCF’s Grants Committee along with Amanda DeBord. “First of all, several of us are seniors.”
However, Duncan added, “It’s not just our members we want
to serve, but the community around us.”
She added while the center serves the Farragut/West Knox/ area, anybody is welcome to come who is a Knox County resident.
“The only criteria is they have to be over 50 years old,” Duncan said.
RCF contributed $5,000 and RCB contributed $750. The district matched their contributions, giving a total grant amount of $11,500.
She said the district match enables the clubs to “do a lot more for the seniors.
“We’re providing picnic tables and benches for the outdoor area, and these are handicap accessible,” Duncan added. “We’re also providing some planter boxes so the seniors can do some gardening activities.
“And then, we’re providing some outdoor games like cornhole.”
Breaking new ground, “They’ve never had an outdoor area before with these kind of accommodations,” Duncan said. “We were just looking for something we could do within the community of Farragut.
“We contacted the head of the senior center (its coordinator Darrell Gooding),” she added. “He suggested two or three things.”
Among those suggestions, Duncan said, “We liked the idea of doing something outdoors to enhance their ability to be able to go out and socialize.
“(The senior center) is planning to do things, like gardening classes, and things that will be able to engage the senior community,” she added. “That was what was exciting to us.
In submitting the grant, Duncan said, “We wanted to serve the Farragut area, but this will also be the closest center to the Bearden area, and it won’t surprise me if we see some people from Loudon County coming.”
Since the center opened in January, Gooding told Rotarians the center was seeing close to 300 a month and expects the numbers to grow in the future.
“There’s a lot of interest in it,” Duncan said.
Unfortunately, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, installation of the equipment will have to wait as the center currently is closed.
“Our original goal was to have everything done by May 31, and to have a ribbon cutting and celebration on June 1, but because of the coronavirus, while we can get all the things we need to have, there’s no certainty as to when we will be able to install it,” she said. “We’re hoping to be able to partner with Knox County to help with the installation of the equipment.”