An override that would’ve funded the construction of a new senior center in Canton was shot down more than two years ago, but state legislators are rekindling the issue.
An override that would have funded the construction of a new senior center in Canton was shot down more than two years ago, but state legislators are rekindling the issue.
Rep. William Galvin, D-Canton, and Sen. Brian Joyce, D-Milton have requested that $250,000 be put toward the building of a new senior center in Canton — the money being part of a capital bond bill. The projects funded through capital bond bills are separate from those funded under the state budget.
Galvin said the request is being examined by the state Ways and Means Committee.
“I’m pretty hopeful about it,” Galvin said. “The current senior center is in a space on Washington Street and they’re making the best of it right now, and they run it very well. But the Town of Canton has grown and so has its elderly population, so there’s definitely a need for a new senior center.”
A message was left with Joyce but he could not be reached by press time.
“We desperately need a new space,” said Canton Senior Center Director Diane Tynan, adding the senior center has been in its current location in the basement of the town’s Housing Authority for the past 21 years.
Tynan said the current space is not compliant with the American Disabilities Act and said many of the organization’s programs are offered off-site at places like St. John’s Church, the Knights of Columbus Hall and the Blue Hills Wellness Center.
“They’ve all helped with providing space for our programs and they’ve been wonderful about it,” Tynan said. “But it would be great if we could offer all of our programs under one roof. We know selectmen and our legislators support us but we’re in a tough economy right now. Even if we couldn’t get a new facility built right now, I hope the town would look for it to happen within the next five years or so.”
Galvin said other towns such as Stoughton, Norwood and Foxboro all have relatively new senior centers, noting they have been great assets to those towns.
“All of us are going to need the services of a senior center sooner or later,” Galvin said. “And besides, Canton’s seniors deserve a nice place to go.”
Tynan said she found out last week that Galvin and Joyce were requesting the funds.
“I was thrilled,” she said. “They are very aware of the issues we’re facing and they know that we’re limited in what we can offer our seniors.”
But even with $250,000, there would still be a lot of money to raise for a new senior center, given that the price tag for the one shot down in 2006 was $4 million.
“I’m not sure how the funding would work in terms of building a new center but I’m thrilled our legislators recognize the need,” Tynan said.
Fifty-seven percent of those who voted said no to an override that would’ve funded the new senior center in 2006. Only 14 percent of registered voters in the town came out and cast their ballots.
Tynan said that senior centers provide very valuable and necessary services for seniors.
“There are so many programs, classes, special events, sports and activities going on here and we’ve simply outgrown our facility,” she said. She added the senior center offers legal clinics, transportation programs, medical assistance, trips, tax assistance, computer instruction support groups, estate planning sessions and much more.
“A lot of people aren’t aware of all the things a senior center does,” Tynan said. “We need to get the message out to younger people. After all, we all have parents and grandparents. We want to make sure people have services in place that will allow them to live safely.”
“We’re all going to reach that age sooner or later,” Galvin said.