Letter: Community input crucial before spending millions of dollars

To the Editor:

Why the incredible rush to build a Senior Center?

Our current Senior Center is in dire need of a renovation. Do our seniors want to remain where they are, with renovations? Do they want a new Center with access to non-seniors “after hours”? Do our residents want a Community Center with access and amenities for all age groups and perhaps a pool to replace the dilapidated Hillcrest pool? What are the anticipated costs and fees for each scenario? If a new center is built, where do the residents want it located?

We don’t know the answers. While a survey was conducted, the process was flawed. A statistically insignificant number of responses were received and multiple responses from the same responder were not screened out. A renovation of the current center was not even suggested. The Senior Committee has refused to conduct a town wide mailing; Why?!

A new center is being forced upon the taxpayers with no support from the community. Prior to spending $175,000 in architectural fees and millions on a new center, I would like the Committee to put on the brakes. Hire a consultant to develop a comprehensive survey asking our residents what they want. What are the “must have” and “nice to have” amenities. Compile all the results, hold public meetings and give the residents an idea of the cost scenarios for the top choices.

These surveys should be sent to each household in the upcoming tax bills allowing for all residents to have their voices heard, and saving on a separate mailing.

Additionally, with the Probate Court moving to the current Senior Center, a significant amount of work will need to be put into the building. Will we pay renovation costs on this building and still move the seniors to a new center?

Why continue to bulldoze this project without full community input? Why spend millions of dollars when we don’t know what the community wants or needs? Please ask the Senior Committee and the Town Council to stop, take a breath and start at the beginning with a survey mailed to all households now.
Mary Isaac