LETTER: Wilmington Seniors Deserve A New Senior Center, Now Is The Time

To the Seniors of Wilmington:

The Buzzell School opened in 1934, decades later it was mothballed. In 1986 the school was refurbished by efforts from volunteers, tradesmen and local companies and reopened as today’s Buzzell Senior Center. It costs the town nothing. 84 years have passed and the old girl is really her age – antiquated is the word.

Currently, the building stands on 2,800 sq ft with no adequate parking. A master plan would recommend the new building to be a minimum of 14,000 sq ft, so as you can tell, we are cramped for space.

The building itself has many deficiencies: there are no dedicated administrative offices, walls may have asbestos, no sprinkler system, the bathroom facilities are inadequate, the basement is in deplorable condition and the building is not energy efficient. The HVAC system is also antiquated. As well as little to no space for privacy or confidentiality when having a counseling meeting. These are just a few of the deficiencies.

The needs: Ongoing programs have to be cancelled due to lack of space – there is no room! We are in need of an Education Seminar Caregiver Support Group, computer room with equipment, library/quiet space, exercise classes and equipment (yoga, tai chi, zumba, line dancing, sewing, arts and crafts, games, billiards etc.). There is no indoor storage space, only a shed outside that is used to store donated medical equipment.

What a new building offers: Dedicated administrative offices, large commercial kitchen so that daily lunches can be served on site and local restaurants can be invited to cater weekly special luncheons. A large function room that can be divided for multi purposes, a fully equipped exercise room, computer room for training, reopening of the woodworking group, and dedicated office space for privacy when counseling and at home care, as well as the return of the memory care component. Additionally, an outdoor space for walking trails, victory garden, pavilion area, bocce and pickleball courts.

The mission of the Wilmington Department of Elderly Service is committed to continuously advocating, promoting and providing services to Wilmington citizens 60 and over. These services contribute to the well-being of our seniors. The center should be an environment that is not only inviting, but also safe and enjoyable for elderly residents to be able to communicate with their peers and participate in many daily classes and activities.

Lastly, the 2020 Census recorded our town as having 5,609 seniors of 60. We all have a voice, and as a group we deserve nothing but the best. The land is there, our selectmen have to approve and get it done. Now is the time.

Submitted by Ed Barrasso Sr.

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