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Elders look for a new senior center

Changing from the Endicott Estate as the spot to have a senior center, elders want help in finding the right spot.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Council on Aging Board July 19, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Mr Finucane, We are writing to clarify misinformation in your recent editorial. The letter on which your editorial is based was submitted by a group of neighbors opposed to a Senior Center at the Endicott Estate: NOT by seniors. This does not surprise us, since it seems to be another case of not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY). The proposal for the Endicott Estate site is far from "dead" as you put it. As a matter of fact, it seems to be moving full-speed ahead! Fund raisers are being planned, committees are being formed, and more and more residents from all over town are coming on board! I'm sure you've heard that more than 1,000 residents, both young and old, have signed a petition supporting this proposal. continued.
Council on Aging Board July 19, 2012 at 01:30 AM
The seniors do not support asking Town Meeting to create yet another site committee. A site committee exists, and has for many years. The committee has identified the perfect location; the Endicott Estate. The request for "a fiscally viable budget" is another suggestion from those who oppose the concept of renovating the barn at the Endicott Estate; NOT from the seniors. The Dedham Senior Center Foundation is a nonprofit organization formed to raise private funds to build a Senior Center. Those members of the Foundation realize there is much support in the community for a Senior Center, but understand the concern of increased taxes. With private funding, no tax dollars would be needed to build it. It has never been the intent of the Council on Aging Board or the Foundation to ask the SBRC to "enter the development" as you stated. I completely agree with you; it is a school group and may seem out of place. Please feel free to attend any of the on-going public presentations for more information, or join us on Facebook. As always, we are committed to an open, honest, and transparent process. The Dedham Council on Aging Board
Fred Civian July 19, 2012 at 12:05 PM
As one of the people who favors having Town Meeting select a senior center location, I need to tell you that - like me - some of us 1) don't live near the Endicott and 2) are seniors, too. Something this important for the Town should have the particpation and buy-in of Town meeting before it goes forward. Let's get this done in with a clear public process that involves Town Meeting. That's all I am asking for.
cindy barich July 19, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Dedham needs a senior center! The construction of a new senior center will only be accomplished if there is town-wide involvement in a fully transparent public process with the dissemination of clear and accurate facts. There seems to be questions about what the facts. The Transcript published the COA's proposed site plan on Feb 17, 2012. The link to the article is..http://www.dailynewstranscript.com/news/x248709932/Dedham-Council-on-Aging-presents-plans-to-build-senior-center-at-Endicott-Estate?img=2#axzz20xVXoU9q. The senior center is located in the upper middle part of the page..at that time.the size was 7700 sq ft. Keep in mind that the footprint is now 8600 sf.ft. The white rectangle inside the senior center is the existing barn footprint. The mansion's footprint is roughly 6700 sq ft. From this site plan, we learn that 1) the senior center footprint will be larger than the mansion's footprint, 2) the majority of the senior center will be new construction, and 3) a second parking lot will be built. A construction project of this significant size really requires public input from seniors and non-seniors alike, and Town Meeting's approval.
karen March 06, 2013 at 03:06 PM
the seniors are sick of being rejected in this town. they supported schools, fields, and many other expenditures yet for FORTY YEARS there has been proposals for a senior center and yet NOTHING comes of it. a group of people realized that the town is not interested in funding something for their seniors so they formed a foundation to raise the funds privately so they don't have to be rejected again by the community they helped to fund all these years. "sites" have been discussed for years. they have a very good feasability plan for the endicott property. but even with private funding, there is opposition because there is a "process"-not in writing according to the chairman-that was not followed. so now we have egos to deal with instead of financial concerns. seniors comprise 1/4 of the voters in dedham. it is time to come out of "retirement" and speak up for ourselves. you have to stand for something or you're going to fall for anything as they song says! let's use our combined influence to make the senior center happen. it's been on the back burner for too long. call your town meeting members and get them informed.
Avon Barksdale March 06, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Which "40 years" are you talking about? The people who are now seniors in Dedham ignored infrastructure in Dedham from about 1970-1995 in favor of lower taxes. The town crumbled and finally everything is heading in the right direction - no thanks to the seniors, who were the prime voting opposition to every attempt at progress over the past 15+ years. If the seniors were the only voters in town, no new schools, fields, labs or anything else would have been built. If a senior center happens, it will be because it's the right thing to do for Dedham's seniors, not because Dedham's seniors deserve it for having done the right things. Seriously, "the community they helped to fund all these years"? You're delusional or you're a liar.

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