According to Britt, the whole process started in 2016 when Beverly Elliott, a Mt. Juliet resident, bought 10 acres of property on Clemmons Road and donated it to the city.
Elliott had two conditions for the property. The first was that the city build a park named Ethan Daniel Page Park. Page was 5 years old when he died in 2013, and Elliott was a friend of the family. Her second condition was that the 10 acres stay in the hands of the city.
“Over the last several months, apparently there’s been conversation among the city commissioners that they would build soccer fields on that 10-acre park,” said Britt. “Also, move the salt shed that’s behind Sellars Funeral Home, they want to move that salt shed to the corner of the park.”
A few weeks ago, when the center interviewed for a new executive director, one of the interview candidates was impressed with the number of people in the center.
“It happened to be on a Thursday afternoon when we had the music jam going on,” said Britt. “So, the room is packed with musicians and singers and audience. It’s a weekly affair, and she happened to be here, and so I took her out there. She walked out there, and she said, ‘Oh my, this is wonderful. They’re having so much fun.”
The candidate, who was hired, was Sonja Robinson, sister of Mt. Juliet Commissioner Ray Justice. Robinson, who also serves as a Wilson County commissioner, called her brother and asked if the city could do anything to help the center get some more space.
“So Ray Justice called Brian Abston, who’s another city commissioner, and together they decided that maybe the senior center could build on the front part of that 10-acre property,” said Britt. “The soccer fields and the salt shed’s in the back. So they came up with this idea.”
The Mt. Juliet City Commission discussed the proposal at its meeting Feb. 26 and passed a preliminary proposal unanimously. The next step is for City Manager Kenny Martin to draw up a contract between the city and the senior center to find out how much money would need to be raised to build a new facility.
“I could not be prouder of our elected body for their sincere and genuine desire to partner with the Mt. Juliet Senior Citizens Center,” said Martin. “The land in question is perfectly situated and will make a great location for the center’s future home. The city has a long and wonderful relationship with the center, and it does our hearts good to see them prosper, grow and do well. We love our seniors and wish to applaud them for who they are and all they do for us and our great community.”
Britt shared Martin’s excitement for the new center.
“We’re just thrilled,” she said. “We just feel like the city is, you know, they’re excited. We’re excited. Now, we don’t know. We haven’t seen the contract. I’m sure it will have some conditions on it, like they’re not going to give us 20 years to raise this money, you know. So, that’s our next step. We’re waiting to see that.”