Recently I have read and heard from a few people that have expressed their opposition to our town building a new Senior Center at Bliss Park. As someone who regularly uses the town’s senior center for recreational activities, I have taken an interest in the Select Board’s Adult Center Building Committee search, and have reviewed all of the documentation they provided to the Select Board.
This committee investigated ten sites in town, including the existing site at Greenwood Park. The location they determined is the best site for a new Senior Center is a small, neglected corner of Bliss Park. I have personally walked the area and agree that this somewhat abandoned area of the park is indeed in poor condition. It is a dirt area that our dog walkers use to access the rear trails. The field house is in poor condition. The basketball court floods each spring. The tree roots are damaged from the haphazard parking all over this area. I could immediately see the reasoning behind choosing this location.
Locating this 3 acre project on this corner of the park would do nothing but improve the park. It would provide parking for access to the walking trails, as well as to the ball fields and basketball court. This location takes away nothing from the other active recreational activities at the park. Add to that, there is a substantial buffer zone to the residential streets that are on the north and east of the park. To the north, there are actually around 35 acres of wooded land that will be a buffer zone.
There are over 4400 senior residents in town, and I understand that the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission has determined that there will be a 30% growth by 2030 of elders in our town. We will represent over a third of the residents. We also want to participate in recreational activities, both indoor and outdoor.
I applaud the Park Board for taking the unanimous position to support this location.
I have often heard people say the senior center should stay where it is. I am sure they are unaware that an expansion of that building would mean that there would be a loss of two ball fields at Greenwood PARK and it would mean that most of the open space would be parking! Greenwood Park is a 9 acre park. Bliss Park is a 45 acre park. Frankly, I think it is only logical that the new Senior Center be built at Bliss Park.
Julia Moulton, Longmeadow Resident
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