Letter: Senior center committee is not rushing anything

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to Cindy Katske's comments on the work of the "Trumbull Senior/Community Center and Library Study Committee." Note the name of the Committee. It is a study committee! Our job is to do research, consider ideas and come up with proposals. The Town Council rightfully makes all the final decisions. If Ms. Katske thinks that the Community aspect is an afterthought, then that is her interpretation of the name of the committee.

Ms. Katske's letter was full of misinformation, half truths and omissions of key information. The Committee is not rushing into anything. We have spent a year making on-site visits to other centers in state and out of state. We have spent countless hours interviewing directors of centers gathering their views on functionality and design of centers. We have spent several meetings  just discussing square footage requirements. This is hardly the definition of a "runaway train."

We held public hearings on Sept 28, Oct. 28, Nov. 6, and Nov.14 and sponsored online and hard copy surveys. We have written editorials and have had articles published in local papers about the Committee's work asking for public input. Most importantly, our meetings are open to the public and are broadcast on Trumbull Community Television. Every meeting has a portion devoted to "public comment." Ms Katske has attended most meetings and has chosen not to raise any of her concerns.

We will agree with the author that Newtown has done an excellent job of researching its plan to build a center. She fails to note that Newtown received a $10 million grant from General Electric after the Sandy Hook tragedy  to build a center. GE's generosity afforded Newtown the luxury of extensive research.  

Ms. Katske takes a shotgun approach, raising lots of points, hoping to fire up controversy  and divide the community. For example, she questions why the issue of a pool was not raised.  It was discussed, but a pool would double the cost of the center. The committee does not decide that. The people of Trumbull will have an opportunity to express their ideas about a pool. She also raises the issue of approvals. As sites are identified, of course they will be subject to review and approval by all the appropriate town agencies before anything is decided. Raising this as an issue now is purely inflammatory rhetoric.

Where would we be if past generations had not had the foresight to build not only new schools, but also our beautiful Trumbull Library, Tashua Knolls Golf Course, two town pools, and the many parks, playgrounds, ball fields and tennis courts which we all currently enjoy?  A community center and an improved senior center should be the next step forward for the continued enhancement of Trumbull's quality of life. If we stop moving forward, we regress.

To date, this committee of dedicated volunteers from both sides of the aisle have put an enormous amount of time and effort into this project and are making every effort to get this right.  This is too big of an issue to be politicized. Of course this center will cost money. Everything does. Let's stop pitting grandparents against grandchildren, single residents against families,  and threatening everyone with imagined tax increases.  

Ms. Katske, it's too early to start campaigning for the next election.
Joe Pifko and Dan Marconi
Co-Chairs of the Trumbull Senior/ Community Center Study Committee