Mechanicville Seniors have new haunt

More federal dollars for dredging and hurricane protection
December 5, 2018
Vivian Marie
December 5, 2018
More federal dollars for dredging and hurricane protection
December 5, 2018
Vivian Marie
December 5, 2018

Terrebonne Parish leaders have cut the ribbon on a second program for senior citizens, to be located inside the Mechanicville Multipurpose Building on Senator Street.

Parish President Gordon Dove, who praised Councilman John Navy for “having the vision” for this program, said the new haunt for senior activity will be operated by the non-profit Gulf Coast Social Services of Houma, with an initial $120,000 grant from the parish.

Gordon said the parish has a millage for the elderly, which the council uses to fund the Terrebonne Parish Council on Aging.

However, he said there is a small amount of remaining funds remaining, which the council and the parish can fund at their discretion, “and a program like this is one of the ways we can put public tax dollars to good use.”

Dove said another pending endeavor is to renovate the American Legion Hall Building off of William Street.

“John Navy needs a round of applause for this project,” Dove said.

Navy said the senior program will be a first for the Mechanicville area. He said although it will be based in Mechanicville, it is open to all seniors parish wide, who are over 60 years old. The program is free for the most part.

Bernadette Smith of Gulf Coast Services, will supervise the program, said the program will be on-going Mondays thru Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will offer nutrition, arts and crafts, games, physical exercises and more. She will have a staff of three employees.

“We will also have open dialogue discussions with the seniors, so they can discuss whatever is on their mind, or perhaps a situation they are experiencing,” Smith said.

Judge Juan Pickett, who was present for the event, told the seniors who attended the ribbon cutting, ” Thank you for what you have done, and continue to do for our community. You are walking symbols of our history, and you offer so much wisdom. It’s only fitting that we have something like this to offer you, and to protect you.”

Houma Police Chief Dana Coleman, who was also present, said he was excited to see the program finally in full swing.

“As I look around this room, I see each of you who have had an impact on my life, of course, including my mother who is here with us today,” he said.

“My mother use to say it takes a village to raise a child, and I am a product of this community. I am who I am because of you, you are the gems of our community,” Coleman said.

The community has been needing a center like this, participant Dorothea Verdin said.

“I thank all of those that took care of us and are taking care of us now,” she said.

“But the children are our future. We’re old, and we’re on the way out. So this will help us get together to figure out how we can put forth a good foundation for the young in our area,” Verdin said.

Houma-Terrebonne Housing Authority Director Nikita Gilton, who was also in attendance, said she was happy to see some of the residents of the housing authority’s high-rise, present for the special day.

“Hopefully we can get our van running soon, and get more of you here to participate, so you can get out and about and enjoy yourselves,” she said.

Ronald Rainey, a board member of the district 11 recreation board, who manage the Multipurpose building and the Mechanicville Gym, said the seniors are his inspiration.

Navy said he hopes to contribute an additional $60,000 to $80,000 from the parish to increase food and transportation efforts early next year.

“I promise you, as long as I’m here, John Navy is going to take care of you,” he said.

Elmira Walker, outreach director at Teche Action Clinic in Dulac and Houma, said Teche will also be partnering with the senior program, along with the La. Dept of Public Health to offer nutritional information and health care tips.

The ribbon cutting was held on Tuesday, Nov 27 at 10 a.m., in the Mechanicville Multipurpose Building.