No, the Endicott Estate is not where Dedham ought to put a new senior citizens center after all.
According to a group of seniors, there is too much going on at the site and another major center for the elderly would not be a good fit.
Which of course puts the search for a senior center at the beginning again.
Dedham had come quite close to putting an $8 million Senior Center in a relatively removed section a few years ago; but the town voted down the spending. There had been a $5 million version, but the town went with the more expensive plan.
Some seniors fought hard on this money back then, threatening to vote against a school bid for extra money if the elder facility was not on the ballot. School officials endorsed the senior money. Schools succeeded; seniors failed.
Since then, nothing tangible has happened.
There was talk about putting the new senior center on the Endicott Estate, but that is now dead, it seems.
In a letter to the editor of Dedham Patch, seniors took a new direction.
Now the elders group is taking a very different approach. It wants to bring in a wide array of groups to pick a senior center.
Just as the town built the most recent schools, with lots of input from many places, the seniors will propose a group to find a senior center. They will ask Town Meeting to create the group. In it will be Selectmen, the FinCom, the Council on Aging, the School Building Rehabilitation Committee and some Town Meeting members. It will be called the Senior Center Siting Committee.
This is a complete reversal.
For months elders discussed a senior center in private.
Now they want everybody in on the process. They are even calling for the School Building Rehabilitation Committee to enter the development. Looking at the proposed members, inclusion of the SBRC school group seems out of place. This is a school group. It might be, in part, to make up for the threat of voting against the school funding when the two requests shared the town ballot some years ago.
Also, the committee is asked to come up with a “fiscally viable budget.”
That is, of course, another whole question.
Much needs to be discussed before all this is clear.
Clearly, seniors have taken a new tact.
Maybe they can finally get a new senior center.