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Altus senior center to open by October

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

ALTUS, OK (KSWO) - A brand new center for senior citizens will open in Altus in October.

The Altus Senior Activity Center is part of the town's MAPS project passed in 2008. That project was paid for through a 1.75 cent sales tax increase. The revenue from that increase was then used for a variety of projects, including turning the old Altus High School library into a new facility for senior citizens to enjoy.

Altus City Councilman Jason Winters said they're pulling out all the stops for the senior center and will have activities for them like dominoes and bridge. The city hopes to even have a dance floor and room for a band to play music.

"Your seniors are very important, I myself hope to be able to use this place someday and I want it to be the best it can be. How you treat your seniors says a little bit about how your community has its values,” Winters said.

Winters said once the facility opens in October, he expects it to be a busy place.

"We hope that for decades to come this can be a place they come and spend parts of their day, meet friends, have a good meal. Be a shelter in times of poor weather,” Winters said.

The center is part of the MAPS program approved by the City of Altus back in 2008. That resulted in a sales tax increase, with 50-percent of the money collected going to renovations at Altus Public Schools and the other 50-percent being used for city projects. The first project was building a new City Hall, which is already complete.  This senior center is the second project and Winters said it's already fully funded.

"One of the benefits is that for a number of years the tax has been being collected so the funding for this structure has already been collected,” Winters said. “There's no money that has to be borrowed, everything's already in the bank so as the bills come in they're able to be paid without having to worry about where the money comes from."

Winters said he has spoken to several seniors in Altus. He said many of them are excited for the center to finally open, but there are some who are a bit apprehensive. Winters said he is certain their minds will be changed once the center is open and people get to see what it has to offer.

The third project benefiting from the MAPS money will be a new fire station in Altus. Winters said the planning of that station is about 75-percent complete and they hope to begin construction before the end of 2017. 

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