Published 1:08 am, Friday, July 23, 2010
The second phase of the senior-center, Board-of-Education shuffle would begin in September 2011 if the Board of Selectmen opts for the staggered release of capital projects, according to Republican First Selectman David Campbell.
This portion of the plan would include moving the senior center program from its current home on Edgerton Street to the Town Hall annex building, where the schools' central offices currently reside.
Currently, the senior center is housed in a former elementary school, Hollow Tree School, which was opened in 1953. And while it's been several decades since the building was re-purposed to accommodate the senior population, it remains mostly the same as it was then, according to said Parks and Recreation Department Director Susan Swiatek.
The five selectmen agree that the facility on Edgerton Street is not adequate for a senior center. Board members cite leaky roofs, elementary-school-sized bathroom facilities, an abundance of staircases and general disrepair on the laundry list of problems at the building.
But seniors still turn out to use the building, according to a usage report Swiatek presented to the BOS Monday night.
The senior center served an average of 602 meals per month during the 2010 Fiscal Year, between 27 and 33 meals per day, according to the report. In addition, the average monthly head count for program participation was 1,598, with attendance ranging from 60 to 93 people a day, the document states. The total membership at the center is 686 people, with 109 members joining in the fiscal year, according to the report.
"While these [statistics] are helpful in telling the story of use of the facility, it is not complete," Swiatek wrote in an e-mail on Thursday. "There are additionally folks who come to the center just to socialize, maybe just sit and have coffee, play cards."
The Board of Selectmen has not officially voted on the best way to move forward with the relocation of the senior center. However, the majority of board members said they would prefer to place the center in Town Hall than the 35 Leroy, the other option examined by Beinfield Architecture's Senior Center Relocation Feasibility Report.
"I'm really excited to move the senior center to Town Hall and make it a community center," Republican Selectman Jerry Nielsen said this week. "I think that would create a lot of activity. There's a lot of synergies with the senior center, the gym and the arts council in the same building."
And Campbell recently announced another possibility: a pool.
"The pool idea is kind of an icing on the cake if it could happen," Nielsen said. "I think it would be a whole new Town Hall and bring some vibrancy there."
According to Campbell, the proposed pool could be placed behind Town Hall. Campbell enlisted Fritz Morris of Beinfield Architecture to scout out the location of a pool after Morris's presentation to the BOS at last week's meeting.
"This whole pool thing's been going on a long time," Campbell said Tuesday. "So I'm sitting here in my office, and I said `Why can't we put a pool here?' If we have a community center, there should be room to have a pool. And this takes care of the high school swim team's problems, and gives the townspeople another option of where to swim, because the YMCA by itself is way overcrowded at swim time."
The pool would have to be privately funded, Campbell said.
According to the preliminary sketch by Morris, the pool would be about 25 meters, and would be fit for competition.
But it's just a rough draft of an idea, Campbell said.