WILMINGTON, MA — Earlier this year, when Jomarie O’Mahony was a candidate for the Board of Selectmen, she was a strong advocate for the creation of a community center in Wilmington.
“I would support a community center in town that would have an expanded senior center as well as space that could be utilized in the late afternoon and evenings for youth and family activities,” O’Mahony told Wilmington Apple during her campaign. “Our current Senior Center is too small for our senior community and we do not have a space for children and families to utilize for activities in the evenings and on the weekends. We have done a great job creating outdoor recreational space in town and it is now time to focus on an indoor facility that affords residents of all ages year round access to social and recreational community events and activities.”
Five months later, now as a member of the Wilmington Board of Selectmen, O’Mahony continues to push for a community center.
“My colleagues are probably going to roll their eyes, but I keep harping on wanting to see a community center-type place in Wilmington — a place that seniors can utilize during the day and can be used by kids at night” O’Mahony said at Monday night’s Selectmen’s Meeting, after hearing a report from Elderly Services Director Terri Marciello. “I think there must be a way to consolidate the town’s needs here. Instead of it being children OR adults, we should place an ‘AND’ in there and figure out a way to support all of the residents.”
O’Mahony would like the Board of Selectmen to consider creating a committee to explore options relative to the the senior center’s future.
“We’re looking right now at how we can get an ice rink in town for our youth, which is important and needed. I would support us having another committee to figure out what we can do with our Senior Center,” announced O’Mahony. “That’s my suggestion and I assume we can talk about it more formally after the September 30 meeting.”
On Monday, September 30, 2019 at 7pm, the Board of Selectmen, School Committee, Finance Committee, Facilities Master Plan Committee, and members of the public will converge at the Wildwood Early Childhood Center to discuss the town’s facility needs.
“[The Senior Center] needs to move up the priorities list… I see you,” O’Mahony said. “I encourage the seniors to come on September 30. I acknowledge you shouldn’t have to bifurcate your programs into multiple buildings. It’s incredibly awesome that we have seniors who are so active and I hate the idea that we have to hope some leave an activity so others can join [due to space constraints].”
For seniors who cannot attend the September 30 meeting, Selectman Chair Greg Bendel noted that a second session will likely be held at the Senior Center this fall, perhaps at a time more convenient for seniors.
“We want to make sure all voices are heard as we take this conversation on the road,” he noted.
“The Senior Center is a building that has served the town well since 1935… but there’s space constraints,” acknowledged Town Manager Jeff Hull. “The Board of Selectmen has certainly been mindful and supported the efforts to make upgrades to the building. We do as much as we can with the facility we have. There’s no question at a point and time here, there is a need for a new facility.”
“One of my hopes is that — by getting the various decision makers together — that a strong dialogue can begin about where the priorities are,” added Hull. “In spite of all the money the town has set aise, the cost of building upgrades & replacement is significant. There’s is no way of getting around it. Just like in our own family circumstances, you have to prioritize…. This meeting on the 30th is just the beginning of the discussion… The goal of all of this is to focus on what are the town’s building priorites and what is the sequencing of the various buildings that will need to be addressed. Stay tuned. And please offer your comments.”
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