LONGMEADOW – Town Manager Stephen Crane recently confirmed that the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
(PVPC) would take on a project to assess the needs and feasibility of constructing a new senior center.
Residents voted to approve a $35,000 appropriation to fund the study through a citizen’s petition presented at the May 13 Annual Town Meeting
. While Friends of Longmeadow Older Citizens Association
(FOLOCA) had led the charge in getting the project started, the town will now oversee its development.
“The town and the PVPC recently agreed upon the scope of work for the project,” Crane said. “Because town funds are being used to pay for the study, it now falls under the jurisdiction of the town, but we will still look to the FOLOCA for input going forward.”
The estimated cost of the study is up to $15,400.
In its proposal to the town, the PVPC cited its extensive experience in senior center operations, having taken part in 14 senior center design project, 12 senior center construction operations and three feasibility studies for senior centers in local communities including Hampden
, South Hadley
The PVPC’s study procedures would include five steps – facility needs and assessment, site assessment, general site and building concept, public meetings and a final report.
In evaluating the needs of the facility, representatives would meet with Adult Center
staff, Council on Aging
board members and seniors that utilize the services and compare the services offered to similar suburban senior centers. They would also examine the physical condition of the current site and create a comparative analysis to other senior centers such as East Longmeadow
, South Hadley and Southwick.
Two- to three-page written surveys will also be distributed at the Adult Center, Town Hall and Storrs Public Library
to determine perceived needs and quality of existing services.
The PVPC will also examine up to four sites that could be used or developed for use as a new Adult Center and the potential use would be compared to the town’s long-range plan to ensure that the project did not interfere with the town’s future plans. Sites would be evaluated and ranked through a numerical system based on location, how buildable the area is, ownership of the property, access and parting, zoning, any existing structures, presence of utilities, topography, wetlands and hazardous materials.
Utilizing the findings of the first two steps, the PVPC would tap Caolo & Bieniek Associates Inc.
to develop a concept plan for the new center.
Once that concept is developed, the PVPC would facilitate three working meetings with the Council on Aging as well as a public meeting at the conclusion of the project and would also issue 10 copies of a final report to the town.