Vacant Kennett Police Department to become city senior center? - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Vacant Kennett Police Department to become city senior center?

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KENNETT, MO (KAIT) – The Kennett City Council is considering a proposal to repurpose the former Kennett police station for a senior citizen center.

Kennett OAKS Senior Center Administrator Sharon Montgomery talked to Mayor Jake Crafton and the city council at the Tuesday night meeting about turning over the vacant facility at 200 East 2nd Street to Kennett OAKS.

Police moved in February to the Municipal Building where government offices are located after an emergency evacuation due to mold.

Mayor Crafton said the council discussed the proposal and the possibility of expanding the police station at the Municipal Building because the cost of demolition and rebuilding, or repairing the vacant facility may not be worth the police department moving back.

"Right now their minimum is well over $100,000 just to clean it up and the bring back the PD. To remove the building, demolish the building, $10,000 minimum," he said. "There would be no City of Kennett cost associated with the building if the council decides to turn the building over to the senior citizen center."

From 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Kennett OAKS rents a 4,175 sq. ft. dining room at the Kennett Housing Authority to host activities and serve more than 145 seniors lunch daily. Montgomery says 81,643 lunches were served in 2012. 

"We have Bingo on Monday. We have bands on Thursday. We have Red Shirt Friday every Friday. We have health activities. We have blood pressure, blood sugar," she said. "They rent this building out in the afternoons. They rent it out on the weekends and everytime they rent it then we have to vacate. Everything that we own has to go into storage."

Montgomery says the center also hosts a foot care clinic nearly every month that has to be set up in a kitchen closet due to the lack of space and privacy.

Montgomery hopes the Kennett City Council will decide donate the building. "We're not wanting to buy the building. We're wanting them to donate the building to us because we're going to have to go in and completely remodel everything on the inside."

Montgomery estimates the remodeling of the former police department will cost $200,000. "We are a not-for-profit agency (sponsored by the SEMO Area Agency on Aging). We have no money. Any money that we have, we will have to do fundraisers. We'll apply for grants. We'll ask the community to get behind us and sponsor."

The next Kennett City Council meeting is at the Municipal Building Tuesday, August 21 at 6:30 p.m.

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