Why are the Seniors in Town “suddenly” asking for a new Senior Center in Wilmington?
Let’s examine each part of that question. First the Seniors in Town. Presently, the 60 and over population represents 29% of the adult population in Wilmington. (In fact, Wilmington is experiencing the same population inversion that the State of Massachusetts is, that being that the older population is outpacing the school aged population in numbers). Our numbers have grown, our needs have grown, and our desire to “age in place,” and continue to live in this Town have grown.
Second, this desire for a new space is not “sudden”. The 2001 Master Plan designated the Senior Center as a priority, as did the 2018 Master Facilities Plan. We supported and watched as a new High School, Middle School and Public Safety Building were built. It was not until we realized that we might be overlooked, again, in the next round of building considerations that we took action.
And finally, we have done our homework. We have read feasibility studies from other communities, and visited 4 Senior Centers. We have had 8 meetings of a Focus Group tasked to sift through information and present to the Elderly Services Commission, who then presents it during their publicly held meetings
Multiple Towns have attempted to rehab facilities vs new construction. It ends up being more expensive to retrofit vs. build from scratch. The present Senior Center only has 2800 square feet of usable space.. Wilmington is building houses bigger than that! While George Hooper and Co. have done an excellent job of maintaining Buzzell, there is only so much make-up you can put on. It is time to retire the building and reuse it for temporary space or storage.
So, please, lend us your support at Town Meeting on May 2, 2020. Vote YES to support the Feasibility Study for a new Senior Center.
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