Elk County Planning Commission Director Matt Quesneberry noted during Wednesday afternoon's groundbreaking ceremony for the new Bennetts Valley senior center that until recently, he thought heights were his only fear.
"[That was the case] until I was invited to speak here this afternoon, and I realized my second fear was saying 'no' to an under-five-foot senior citizen from the Valley," Quesenberry said of Bennetts Valley Senior Center President Dolores Youngmark.
Quesenberry also noted that while many residents are likely already looking ahead to the Fourth of July holiday, on Wednesday afternoon his mind was more on New Year's Day.
"I'll tell you why," Quesenberry said. "New Year's Day falls in January and of course the Greek god Janus has two faces, one that would look back and one that would look forward. And, to me, this groundbreaking ceremony is really kind of indicative of that. It's a chance for us to kind of look in one direction to see the accomplishments that we've made and where we've come from, and then you pivot to the other side and you look and see a clear path to where we're going and where we're going to be in a few months for the official dedication of the building."
Quesenberry also recognized a few individuals whom he indicated were instrumental in helping the project reach this point.
He explained that while for the past 25 years, the county has received an annual entitlement of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, those funds are ultimately administered by the Elk County Commissioners.
"Now we stand here today and we get a promise for what we know is going to happen, but we have to think back to a time when we don't know if this is going to work. So we meet with the community and our staff and we go back to the commissioners and we present them with an idea, and thankfully they listen and ask questions, and ultimately they put the faith in us to make the right decisions and have the confidence to move forward and sign off on those contracts and put that first stone in place to be able to get us to a point where we are today," Quesenberry said.
He also credited his fellow planning department member Tracy Gerber, whom he noted has been with the department for 10 years.