TOWNSEND — A plan to construct a new Senior Center may be on the books once again as the Board of Selectmen (BOS) appointed a design committee.
Appointees include Senior Center Director Christine Clish, Auguste (Hirk) Fortin, Ray Jackson, George Sullivan and Nancy Shepherd.
The Council on Aging (COA) requested $30,000 from the 2007 budget to help design a new building, said town administrator Gregory Barnes.
The seniors currently have their center in a storefront at a strip mall at 222 Main St. Currently the budget allows $13,053 for rent, space and equipment for the seniors. According to Barnes, most of that money goes to paying the rent.
Fortin said he served on a study committee prior to this appointment, as the Senior Center question has been an ongoing topic.
The Boston-based firm, John Catlin & Associates, conducted that study in 2003.
“We didn’t get the grant to build a center back then, and we’ll discuss going after grant money at our meeting on Tuesday evening,” said Fortin.
One option for grant money is through the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative Renewable Energy Trust. The town has been denied grant money through the Community Block Development Grant for the past two years.
If the grant money is obtained, one requirement would be that the building would have to be an environmentally-friendly design utilizing alternative energies.
Looking into a green building is one of the first priorities for the committee, said Clish.
“The other focus is where the money will come from for the study and design,” she said. “We will go back to the 2003 study and see if we can bring that up to date and go from there.”
“Where we are now is very small and cramped, but it is a wonderful location,” said Clish. “We have plenty of parking and the seniors love having the Family Dollar store right there. However, we only have one big room which is hard to divide for functions.”
One issue is providing privacy for seniors when the nurse goes to the center.
“It’s hard because no one gets much privacy when they are with the nurse. Those that are waiting their turns are right there where the nurse is working,” Clish said. “We would love to have a place with more than one room for events and privacy.”
The current Senior Center has a kitchenette, but no oven, according to Clish.
“If we have more room for a kitchen with an oven, we could have our senior meals here, it would be much more convenient. We could also hold our bigger events (here) if we had a bigger place,” she said.
The committee is still looking at the space off Dudley Road, said Clish.
“It was deemed the best place for a center for seniors. There is room for it and it’s a good location for us,” she said.