LETTER: Chair Of Wilmington Elderly Services Commission Advocates For A YES Vote On Article 2; Stresses Cost Of New Senior Center Will NOT Increase Your Property Taxes

Dear Editor,

Wilmington has always been a town that has demonstrated its character by taking care of its people. This is evident in programs such as the Fourth of July events, Concerts, Youth Sports and Elderly Services as well as the ‘taking care of business’ tasks such as trash collection, water quality monitoring, building maintenance, educating our children and others.

Over the years, ‘taking care of business’ has included the construction of new schools, new playgrounds and a new Public Safety building. Our neighbors have gotten together at Town Meetings and voted to replace buildings that no longer could serve their purposes and/or were not safe. Many of the voters at Town Meeting were Seniors who voted to approve these projects.

Concerns about the impact to our taxes are always raised. The proposed Senior Center will be financed by Cash Reserves and a Bond issue. It will not require a Proposition 2½ overrride. It will, therefore, be absorbed in the town’s annual operating budget. It will not increase your property taxes.

The current Buzzell Senior Center building was built in 1935 as a junior high school and became an elementary school in 1950, when the former high school was built. In 1981, it was closed and became vacant. Volunteers refurbished the space with donated furniture and, in 1986, it was opened as a Senior Center. The building is now 87 years old and is showing its age.

The Town’s Elderly Services department provides activities and services to the citizen’s 60 and older. These services include art classes, craft groups such as sewing, ceramics and quilting, exercise programs such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Walking groups and Zumba, blood pressure screening, tax preparation and support groups such as Shine, Memory Café and Caregiver support. They also provide Meals on Wheels. Many of these services are severely constrained by limited space.

When the Buzzell Senior Center opened, less than 1% of Wilmington’s population was 60 and over. Today, that number is closer to 27%. That is over 6000 senior citizen voters.
A Special Town Meeting will be held on Saturday, November 19 starting at 9:00 AM at the High School auditorium. Voting on a limited number of warrant articles will (hopefully) not take long. The doors will be open at 7:30 AM to allow everyone, interested in voting, to be in their seats by 9:00 AM

Please Vote YES to approve a new Senior Center.

Thank You,
Ken Clarkin
Chairperson, Elderly Services Commission

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