Share this article

print logo

Concord residents approve building new senior center

Concord residents voted, 360 to 161, in favor of building a new senior citizens center during a referendum Tuesday in Town Hall.

Supervisor Gary Eppolito said he is enthusiastic about the project.

“Seniors need to get out of the house,” he said. “They need to be active.” A third of the town’s population is older than 55.

The single-story, 6,500-square-foot facility will be located on Commerce Drive near Waverly Street in the Village of Springville.

The supervisor anticipates seniors will use the center daily. The town’s older residents have been using the Town Hall for gatherings and the fire hall for lunches.

“Now, we’ll have everything in one location,” Eppolito said.

There have been scheduling conflicts under the old arrangement.

Sometimes the fire hall is unavailable because of weddings or other functions. Seniors have to leave the fire hall by 1 p.m., and the town rents the facility for $5,000 per year.

Eppolito considers the Town Hall inadequate for seniors because it lacks a kitchen and has an aging elevator and insufficient restrooms. Many times, seniors must park far from the building because few parking spots are available.

Town Board members plan to pay the estimated maximum $1,785,000 cost of the new center by bonding the project. A $100,000 federal Community Development Block Grant also will be applied to the price tag.

Officials hope to break ground in September, with completion by spring. The facility will be located next to a low-income apartment building for seniors.

In addition to a kitchen and exercise facilities, the new center will include a unique feature – companion restrooms, in which caregiver spouses can assist their ailing partners. Many restaurants and public facilities don’t offer this feature, which keeps many elderly couples from venturing out of their homes.

“Some couples don’t go anywhere,” Eppolito said.