| Danielle Eaton
AGAWAM – The Friends of the Agawam Senior Center are looking for donations from local businesses and residents after the generator at the senior center needed to be replaced.
Executive Director of the Agawam Senior Center Michael Squindo told Reminder Publishing that problems with the generator began around November or December.
Brian Pagella, director of Maintenance for the Agawam Senior Center, said the generator was original to the building, which was constructed in 2008. He said the generator “needed repairs that were exceeding the cost of a new generator,” such as a cracked engine block. It was then the senior center decided to replace the generator.
Squindo said the cost of the replacement generator was quoted at $42,000, but seeing as the Council on Aging is a municipal organization, they cannot fundraise and needed to come up with $50,000 to allow for a “small cushion.”
While they were able to come up with some of the money through the use of an endowment they’d received, Squindo said, they still needed to cover a significant portion of the project.
“We received money from a former member of the senior center for the building, and we were able to use a portion of that for the generator,” he explained.
After that, Squindo and Agawam Mayor William Sapelli attended a meeting of the Friends of Agawam to see if the organization would be able to contribute any amount towards the cost of a new generator.
“Mayor Sapelli and I had come to a meeting to find out how they operate, and to formally see if they were able and willing to contribute,” he explained. “So we outlined what we expected the maximum [cost] to be and asked if they could contribute any towards that. We left after the meeting so they could make the decision, free of influence.”
Squindo said it was then that the organization decided to vote in favor of donating $25,000 towards the cost of a new generator. He said the Friends of the Agawam Senior Center also put out what Squindo described as “a blast” in their monthly newsletter asking for local businesses and residents to consider contributing toward the cost as well.
He explained that a generator is especially important for the senior center as they’re one of the town’s primary emergency shelters. “This is a community asset,” he said. “This is a community need.”
Pagella said the process for replacing the generator has already begun. “We just extended the [generator] pad with help from the DPW. The concrete will take a 30-day curing process, then we reach back out to the contractor,” he explained.
The curing process will be completed in “early March,” and once that is completed the generator can be installed, he said. He added that while the senior center has no generator at this time, they have the ability to bring in portable generators in the event of an emergency.
Those wishing to donate can mail their donation to the Agawam Senior Center at 954 Main St. and addressed to the attention of the Friends of the Agawam Senior Center. Donations can also be dropped off at the main office of the Agawam Senior Center any time the building is open.
Squindo said any donations received for the cause will be given to the organization and will go directly to fund the cost of the generator.