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Selectmen to address COA?study this fall

Aug. 29, 2013
By Chris Maza


WILBRAHAM – A feasibility study regarding a new senior center has yet to commence.

While the Board of Selectmen elected to grant the Council on Aging’s (COA) request for a feasibility study at its June 3 meeting, a final list of members of the committee that would conduct the study has yet to be appointed, Paula Dubord, director of Elder Affairs, said.

Town Administrator Robert Weitz confirmed that there had been no movement in that regard, adding that it would most likely be addressed this fall.

“They asked for a committee and the selectmen haven’t done anything with it yet,” he said. “They just put that off for a while, but it should be revisited, I think, sometime in September.”

In November 2012, a Senior Center Building Needs Study Committee stated the current facility located in the Scantic Valley YMCA building was an inadequate space for the community’s current needs and the senior segment of the Wilbraham community was only getting bigger.

While the Wilbraham Senior Center measures 3,840 square feet and serves 3,612 seniors, an average of 1.06 square feet per person, data presented to the town showed other local area senior centers were, on average, nearly three times bigger, with 15,384 square feet for an average senior population of 4,838, or an average of 3.18 square feet per person

The representatives of the COA who requested the formation of the committee made suggestions regarding its make up and stated East Longmeadow Council on Aging Director Carolyn Brennan, Gina Kahn, director of the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District’s Safe Schools/Healthy Students program, and Joan Paris, director of Development and Communications at the Community Music School in Springfield and former assistant town administrator, had expressed interest in participating.

All three have experience in grant writing for municipal entities. Most recently, Brennan secured a grant that resulted in the unveiling of a brand new vehicle for the Two Town Trolley service offered by the East Longmeadow and Hampden senior centers that helps residents with transportation to the centers as well as medical appointments.

While the selectmen supported the formation of the committee, they suggested increased involvement from the Capital Planning Committee and the community at large.

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