NEESES – Elvis had left the building after the ribbon cutting ceremony at Neeses’ Seniors Recreation and Leisure Center Sunday afternoon.
The Town of Neeses showed that its new center could be an entertainment venue for group performances as well as other functions before a crowd of approximately 100 citizens and dignitaries or more.
On the center’s stage area in its large assembly room, Elvis impersonator Steve Wannamaker performed and Councilwoman Wanda Ammons played “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and other tunes as incidental music during the afternoon as well as accompanying other singers, including as Councilwoman Renee Olenick. Their performances were interspersed between speeches by officials who participated in the ribbon cutting, including keynote speaker state Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg.
Earlier, Hutto; state Rep. Lonnie Hosey, D-Barnwell; Orangeburg County Councilman Heyward Livingston; and architect Gary Shaw of G3S Architecture + Design participated in the ribbon cutting.
Mayor Kenneth Gleaton said “It’s a great day in Orangeburg County and a fantastic day in Neeses!”
He mentioned that the town plans to have musical concerts in the facility.
“That’s another reason we wanted to have this building. We wanted to showcase some of our local talent,” he said.
Gleaton also mentioned that the exercise program at the facility’s fitness center is well underway and that applications are still available to use it.
Gleaton and Town Clerk Sonja Gleaton later recognized Livingston with tokens of appreciation and also showed him a sign indicating that the fitness center at the facility would be named in his honor.
Gleaton recognized former Mayor Joe Corbett, Henry Gleaton, Jimmy Hoffman and the dignitaries present for their roles in helping with the center.
“I thank the town for trusting me with this beautiful building, architect Shaw said.
“Not too long ago, Lonnie (Hosey) and I were here turning over dirt in a blank space.”
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Likening aging to a journey, Hutto said the senior center is to help the senior citizens of Neeses “lighten their load. “
“This center is going to help you for the rest of your trip,” Hutto said. “As the saying goes, ‘Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art.”
Hutto said Livingston was key in the third round of the penny sales tax initiatives that aided in the construction of the center. Hutto also Mayor Gleaton who was at the center every day, overseeing its construction and completion.
Livingston said, “We went through three mayors to get this project done.”
He called the penny sales tax “a blessing” to this and other county projects.
Hosey said, “This is a great thing for Neeses and for us. I have passed by this place several times, and it is great!”
He quipped that officials may want to name the building for Hutto so that they could secure even more funds in the future.
Rep. Jerry Govan, D-Orangeburg, also attended and spoke briefly about how wonderful the facility is.
Paula-n-Rusty Restaurant and Catering of Bamberg donated the catering for the event, which included chicken wings, mini-sausages with barbecue sauce, cheese straws, pineapple cheese cups with graham crackers, pimento cheese sandwiches, snack mixes, small pastries, Swedish meatballs, a fruit tray, homemade punch and other goodies. Fogle's Piggy Wiggly donated bottled water and floral arrangements for the event.
Souvenir fans were passed out at the event were donated by Midkiff & Image Group Ink. The assembly room buffet furnishing was donated by Furniture Plus of Wagner.
The North Branch of the Orangeburg County Public Library donated two book bags, which were distributed to the two oldest seniors in attendance, who happened to be 85 and 88.
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