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Letter to the Editor: Dedham Can Have Both: Beautiful Open Spaces and a New Senior Center

Senior Center Site Consensus Committee strongly supports building a senior center, but opposes locating another large building on the Endicott Estate.

 

To the Dedham Patch, 

Recently, we met with the Board of Selectmen to voice our thoughts on the proposal to site a Senior Center at the . While we strongly support a Senior Center, we oppose locating another large building and the associated increase in roads and parking on Dedham’s precious open parkland, the Endicott Estate. Green, open and accessible spaces are becoming rare in Dedham. In fact, Dedham ranks near the bottom of towns in our region for available open space. The Endicott Estate serves as Dedham’s common backyard, hosting town-wide concerts, rambles, and festivals as well as family picnics, sledding and kite flying. The estate is an open space that must be protected.

Any new town building, including a Senior Center, is a public resource and thus should be a public decision. However, the current Senior Center proposal at the Endicott Estate has been formulated, in large part, in private meetings. Yet this building would serve a public purpose and its maintenance and upkeep would be funded by our town budget. It is our belief that any proposal for a public building should follow a public process from the outset. 

Dedham has recently succeeded in siting and building two new modern, well-equipped schools. This was accomplished by the School Building Rehabilitation Committee: a broad-based committee with representation from the Selectmen, the FinCom, the Capital Expenditures Committee, Town Meeting members from across town, and the School Committee. The School Committee did not own or control this process. Through the SBRC, the entire town owned the process and the positive result. We propose to follow this model to plan a senior center by asking Town Meeting to create a Senior Center Siting Committee comprised of members from the Selectmen, the FinCom, the Council on Aging, the SBRC, and Town Meeting members to determine the most appropriate site and a fiscally viable budget.   

There have been many locations proposed for a senior center over the years that were acceptable to smaller, narrowly based and sometimes private groups. Some locations were denied by Town Meeting, some by Dedham voters and some by small groups of seniors. Nobody has done the job of finding a senior center location that is acceptable to a broad range of citizens and interests. That is why we are proposing to settle this issue once and for all: put the authority and wisdom of Town Meeting to work siting and building a senior center for Dedham. Working together, we can assure that Dedham does not settle for the loss of one town asset to obtain another.

Senior Center Site Consensus Committee

Lindsay and Cindy Barich

Maurice and Ellen Burns

Fred Civian

Jim and Susan Fay

Joe Findlen

Andrew and Roberta Lawlor

Bob and Kathy Schortmann

Dave and Cherylann Sheehan

 

Chris July 18, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Edna, Exactly my point, thank you for agreeing with me. The main house is 3 stories, while the senior center is ONLY 1 story. BIG difference!!!!!! Therefore, no one can say that they are the same size!
Chris July 18, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Very well said Linda! I would hope you could send this into the newspapers to be printed, so that everyone has a chance to read it? Giving those who do not have access to the internet, especially seniors, the chance to read your sentiments!!!!! As they are shared by MANY of the towns residents!!!!
Linda Young July 18, 2012 at 08:05 PM
OK Chris, I emailed the Transcript editor but have no idea how to email the the Editor of the Dedham Times -- do you have this info maybe? Linda
Chris July 18, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Linda, Thank you for sending it to the papers! The email for the Times is dtimes@rcn.com
Edna July 18, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Linda, The reason the other projects succeed where the senior center hasn't is willingness of the seniors to give up some control. It's very unfortunate that this is happening again. Trying to take over a portion of the Endicott Estate without going through Town Meeting and getting consensus approval follows the same pattern . I am personally not opposed to the senior center, but I do think it will fail without broad support. Supporters insisting they won't be disruptive, and an 8000 sq ft footprint is not large, will not gain that. Any group looking to establish important new site in town, especially one that is proposed to be part of the Endicott Estate, needs to a open to input from others.

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