Friday, May 5, 2017

Vote YES on Article 31


Marybeth Bergeron, long time town resident and current chairperson of the Adult Center Building Committee shares her thoughts on Article 31 that will be considered by town residents during night #2 of the Annual Town Meeting.

It has been said for the past decade, that baby boomers will change the way people live the last years of their productive lives.  As one of the baby boomers I agree.   Many of the Longmeadow older residents I know continue to play tennis, exercise daily, or go to the Jewish Community Center to swim.  When I attend learning opportunities at Storrs Library, I am impressed that the vast majority of people there are older residents of our town.  Vibrant and active, our residents seek out opportunities to live out their lives healthy, active and engaged.

So, I write today as the Chairman of the Adult Center Building Committee to encourage you to attend the SECOND  night of the Town Meeting on May 10th, and support the decision made by the Adult Center Building Committee and the Select Board to seek funds for architectural and design  of a new senior center at Greenwood Park under article 31 of the warrant.

ARTICLE 31- To see if the Town will vote to transfer from available funds in the treasury, the sum of $250,000.00, or a greater or lesser sum, for the purpose of funding Architectural and Engineering Services for the design of a new and/or renovated Adult Center at Greenwood Park, or take any other action relative thereto.

Our committee had submitted  to the Select Board four potential sites that might work.  Additionally, the original architect submitted a plan through the town manager which is called the “Greenwood Master Plan”.  That plan has been rejected by both the Select Board and the Adult Center Building Committee for many reasons.  That  Master Plan is not longer on the table, but the other four locations need to be reevaluated by an architect for a dedicated building for our senior residents.

The facility also services not only our senior residents needs, but also the Town nurse, the Veteran’s Agent, the Food Bank, and all of the Social Service Outreach in our town. Additionally the building is used after hours by various committees and groups, all of which we expect would  to continue in a new adult center.

The residents in Longmeadow represent one third of our population.  This is  tremendous growth in the past five years, and  that demographic  will increase through 2030. This growth indicates that the trend across our country of “aging in place” is also true in Longmeadow.

Our existing senior center is not large enough to accommodate the hundreds of people that currently use the site daily, nor the participation of the increasing numbers of senior residents that  is expected. The building was a school, built for children.

You will recall that at the Town Meeting in October 2016, our residents spoke loudly and clearly that they wanted the Adult Center to remain at Greenwood.     We heard you.  If Greenwood  is where our residents want the senior center, we believe it may be a challenge, but it is do-able. 

In order to proceed, the town needs approval of article 31, in order to secure the services of a building architect and a landscape architect.    We cannot move this needed project forward without design funds.

Aging is a gift and a privilege.  There are some  people that will never have the gift of  aging.  So,  as community, let us age gracefully and with dignity…… together .

Vote YES on Article 31.

Marybeth Bergeron

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