Committee to look at creating "multi-generational" community center

A multi-generational community center, serving as a library and senior center, is the vision First Selectman Tim Herbst would like a new building committee to explore.

The first selectman announced last Friday that he is submitting six names to the Town Council to be considered to serve on a building committee. Herbst has nominated the chair of the Senior Citizen Commission, Rachel Yahwak, Trumbull Library board member Jeanine Stauder, retired school psychologist Richard Seaman, and retired elementary school principal Anthony Timpanelli. Herbst is also recommending that two members of the Town Council serve on the committee and he has recommended Joseph Pifko and Daniel Marconi.

Herbst made exploring a new location for a senior center a priority for his third term. The idea of a multi-generational community center was first raised by First Selectman Ken Halaby in 1999, Herbst said.

The current senior center at Priscilla Place has led to some concerns, since it is not easily accessible to all seniors.

“Given the structural layout and design of that building, it is very hard for the elderly and infirm to access that building,” Herbst said.

Many seniors in town use nearby senior centers, due to proximity.

“For many years we have lost Trumbull senior participation to other communities because our senior center’s current condition is woefully inadequate to meet the needs of a growing senior population here in Trumbull,” Yahwak said. “I am pleased First Selectman Herbst is making this a priority, and I look forward to working with him to see this plan come to fruition.”

The 2012 U.S. census showed that Trumbull’s population of residents 55 years and older is about 12.9% of the total town population. Herbst said the town senior population continues to grow and that it is evident in declining school enrollment.

Herbst said the committee could begin a larger discussion about town-owned buildings.

“What I envision is when this building committee starts its work, that will start a conversation on all our town facilities,” Herbst said. “What’s going to happen is there will be a lot of surplus property housing town facilities that we might be in a position to sell down the road. Any profit we earn could thereby be used to offset the cost of constructing a new facility.”

The Town Council will discuss the committee at its February meeting.