Senior Center gets a lift from bank’s $15,000 grant

Peter Cunningham, chair of the Groton Senior Center Building Committee, outside the construction site of the new Groton Senior Center.

GROTON — The construction of a new senior center is still rolling along with the help of a recent $15,000 gift from the Middlesex Savings Bank.

The gift was offered during the Middlesex Bank 2019 Community Gift presentation on Jan. 24 at the bank’s operation center in Westboro.

Marie Melican, chair of the Friends of the Groton Elders, said in a press release that the money would be going to the group’s building fund meant to help offset the new center’s construction costs.

When asked if there was a goal amount the Elders are looking to raise for the currently-underway project, Senior Center Building Committee Chair Peter Cunningham had a blunt answer last Monday.

“As much as we can raise,” he said.

Cunningham added that the Elders have raised $150,000 so far, though some of the funds are being saved to fund certain programs and amenities the new center is planning to offer. These range from equipment for the center’s new kitchen to items for a planned workout room within the center.

Cunningham added that there will be a public fundraising event for the new center at the Groton Inn on April 6 at 6 p.m. The location will stay the same, what with the former American Legion Hall where the old center was on West Main Street having been torn down to make room for the new center.

Cunningham added that the new building will be a little under 11,000 square feet to accommodate the vast number of citizens in need of a Senior Center.

“There’s been an increase in the senior population not just in Groton but everywhere,” Cunningham said. “This is about having that need of a place to serve that community.”

Programs previously offered by the Senior Center are still being held, just in other locations across town.

The new center was originally set to be finished by the end of July but due to recent snowstorms and freezing temperatures, Cunningham said that the building is more likely to be completed by September.

So far the new building’s basic structuring, roof structure, frame and outside finish have been completed by NELCO Worldwide from plans by Gregg Yanchenko of Helene Karl Architects in Groton.

Cunningham pointed out how everything in the new center will take place on one floor since the old center was difficult for senior citizens to access. He noted how the new Senior Center could have a garden, space for art programs and a court for pickleball, all to tend to a notable need in the senior citizen community.

“The emerging need is dealing with aging parents and onsets of dementia, which is going to be a real important focus going forward,” he said.