County approves funding for two community clubs

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Brittney Burns – Staff Writer

Over the last few years, community clubs in Macon County have come to the Macon County Board of Commissioners with needs such as building repairs, or requests for funds for recreation programs and community initiatives. Commissioners have always granted the request and praised the community organizations or their individual commitments and dedication to communities in Macon County.

The county’s commitment to community organizations was once again realized on Tuesday night, when the county approved $85,105 for major renovations at two of the county’s community clubs.

“The community clubs in Macon County serve as central gathering points for our residents and work year-round to unite residents,” said Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale. “The requests before us tonight will help these organizations further their reach and their work in our communities.”

The Otto Community Development Organization (OCDO) requested and was approved for $44,155 to complete major renovations to their community building. The building is located at 60 Firehouse Road and shares a building with the Otto Fire Department. The OCDO owns the building and leases the lower portion to the fire department for $1 a year.

The building was constructed in 1978 to build a cohesive community facility where local residents can engage in a variety of endeavors for the betterment of Otto citizens. Over the years, the building has been renovated when possible, but no significant improvements have been made in the building’s nearly 40 years of existence.

The grant request will help pay for a new heating and air system, new flooring, and new electrical work that is desperately needed. The grant will also replace the building’s roof, which Macon County Commission Chair Kevin Corbin said he experienced the damage of the roof firsthand when attending a monthly meeting there and seeing the roof leaking during a rain storm.

The total renovation costs top $58,155, and the Otto Community Center has raised $14,000 for the project. The county’s contribution will help provide that community with the funds needed to bring the building up to code.

The Cullasaja Community Association holds its monthly meetings in the old Salem Methodist Church, a building constructed in 1875 and is on the national historic registry. The renovation needs in the building top $150,000, but members of the community club recognize that is something that needs to happen over time.

In the immediate future, the club has identified $58,250 in needs ranging from repairing and replacing the damaged floor system, construction of a new handicapped accessible deck and ramp leading to the building, repairing the roof, and completing electrical work in the building.

The Cullasaja Community Club has $12,300 in in-kind donations pledged for the labor on the project, and have raised another $5,000 to contribute to the project, leaving $40,950 needed from the county.

The Macon County Board of Commissioners voted to unanimously approve the funds out of the county’s fund balance. As the projects are being completed, invoices will be sent to the county for payment. The project is not to exceed the approved amount.

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