Senior center campaign tabs women to leadOriginally Published March 10, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated March 8, 2013 at 11:20 a.m.
Two women have been named to lead a capital campaign to raise approximately $2 million to buy a facility for the Conway Senior Wellness and Activity Center.
Businesswoman Linda Linn and banker Lori Case Melton, both of Conway, were asked to co-chair the campaign, said Debra Robinson, executive director of the Faulkner County Senior Citizens Program.
“That spells success,” Robinson said of the duo.
The Faulkner County Council on Aging Board of Directors signed a $1.95 million contract in February to buy the Agora Conference & Special Events Center on Siebenmorgen Road in Conway.
Melton said Linn called and asked her to co-chair the capital campaign.
“You don’t say no to Linda Linn,” Melton said, laughing.
Linn and her family own Linn’s Auto in Conway, which includes three separate businesses. Melton is vice president of business development and community relations officer at Arvest Bank.
Linn, who stays busy in the community, said she had decided to take a break from big commitments, but then she was asked to help with the senior center campaign,
“I said that is one exception,” Linn said. “We’re all going to get old one of these days, so this was real attractive to me. The older you get, I guess you realize the value of places that have activities.
“We’re hoping the city will get real excited about it.”
Linn said her one request was a good co-chair.
“They don’t come any better than her,” Linn said of Melton. “She’s got the energy.”
Melton said she and Linn will meet Monday with the steering committee.
She said the campaign “sort of sells itself, because [the senior citizens program is] such a good organization. They do really great things for seniors.”
“It’s such a good project. It could potentially affect everyone because we’re all getting older,” she said.
Melton said that through her work at a former area bank, she helped deliver meals on Thanksgiving to seniors.
“You get to see the people they touch,” Melton said. “It’s not just the people who are [at the center]; their outreach is huge.”
Melton also said the Agora center is “a perfect fit.”
“When they were doing their dream list, it looked similar to that,” Melton said.
“With the layout, they’re going to be able to do so much with it,” Linn said.
The cost of construction for a new center would be $9 million, Melton said.
Robinson said the current facility at 1620 Donaghey Ave., a former church that has been added onto, is too small for the center’s many activities.
The center on Donaghey Avenue has about 9,000 square feet, and Agora has approximately 19,000 square feet, Robinson said.
Melton said the senior program has been in its current building since 1980.
“Look what Conway’s done since 1980,” she said.
“Although there are a lot of young people, the bulk of the population that’s growing is seniors,” Melton said.
Robinson said Agora will give the program room to grow.
“We want to offer more as far as health and wellness,” she said.
“We want to be set and ready to offer all the programs and things that interest seniors — our younger seniors to our older seniors,” Robinson said in an earlier interview.
She said the facility on Donaghey is for sale.
The capital-campaign goal is “a lot of money,” Linn said, “but with the community as good as it has been in the past, you can’t help but feel good about it. But it is going to be a job and a half.”
Melton said consultant Fred Hueston of Conway is the fundraising consultant and will help secure grants for the project.
She said the campaign deadline is the end of April.
“We’re trying to get in, work hard and get out quick,” Melton said. “The people of this town have been so generous with all the causes; we just didn’t want to drag it out.”
Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or email@example.com.