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Greater Palm Bay Senior Center History

In 1981, the members of the Palm Bay Area Senior Citizens Association (PBASCA) and Harold Bryant, Sr., Mayor of Palm Bay, discussed the idea of building a senior center, but it was not until December 1986 that Hal Bryant met with City Manager, Bob Matey, and the process began.

The Mayor wrote a letter on behalf of the Greater Palm Bay Senior Citizen Coalition to The Honorable Andrea Deratany, Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, Brevard County. The letter requested the Brevard County Staff prepare a grant request to the Department of Natural Resources, State of Florida, to construct and establish a senior citizens facility for the above mentioned area.

The coalition elected a thirteen member Board of Directors, including four officers, to supervise the facility. By-Laws were prepared and Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Secretary of State. General Development of Palm Bay donated 6.11 acres for the construction site.

In December 1988, the Annual General Membership Meeting of the GPBSC was held at the Palm Bay Community Center. The Executive Committee officers were: Hal Bryant, President; Jack Boyle, Vice President; Gene Guarino, Treasurer; Irene Ehrmann, Secretary and Marge Lane, Recording Secretary. The following were elected to three-year terms on the Board of Directors: Roy Sullivan, Gene Guarino, Sam Simonian, Ray Blackquiere, and Marge Lane.

The president, Hal Bryant, reported the new Senior Center, a 9,314 square foot building, located at the intersection of Culver Drive and Emerson Drive, in Palm Bay was due for completion of Phase I and occupancy on January 20, 1989. A full slate of activities was to begin on February 1, 1989. Phase II was to be completed about March 1, 1989. Membership - 500, including 294 charter members.

Flag raising ceremonies highlighted the dedication of the Greater Palm Bay Center on April 2, 1989 with 400 people in attendance. State Representative Harry Goode and State Senator Tim Deratany were recognized for their key legislative work in obtaining the money for the facility. In all, three grants totaling $843,000 were awarded to the Greater South Brevard Senior Center, d.b.a. Greater Palm Bay Senior Center.

In 1990, the center received a grant award for $140,000 from the Florida Department of Natural Resources to add new restrooms, a storage facility and multi-purpose room, and to improve the parking lot. In 1996, a $45,000 grant was received from the state for the expansion of a 1,260 square foot multi-purpose room.

The GPBSC building is leased from the city. Operating funds are obtained from yearly dues, bingo, sublets, fund-raisers and contributions. The facilities provide a service to the community for use as a meeting place for community activities, such as hurricane emergencies, a voting precinct, candidate forums, health and wellness, etc.