, Derry, New Hampshire

April 25, 2013

Senior center to get much needed upgrades

By Julie Huss

---- — LONDONDERRY — Town officials want to make sure the community’s older members are well cared for. That includes making sure the senior center is kept up to date and safe.

The senior center will be getting some much-needed upgrades, including work done on the building’s restrooms. Town officials voted to move ahead with the repair work, with a proposed budget of about $20,000.

Seniors have gathered at the senior center at the Mayflower Grange Hall in North Londonderry since 2007. The building itself dates back to the early 1900s, when it was used for various community events and meetings.

Repairs to the building are long overdue, according to town officials.

Acting Town Manager and police Chief Bill Hart said he visited the center recently and seniors are very excited about the prospect of having new restrooms. Inspections will be done by town officials to make sure all Americans With Disabilities Act regulations were met.

“This building is very important to those who use it,” Hart said. “They are very excited about getting started.”

It’s not just the restrooms that will get attention, any roaming mice are going to be taken care of, too.

Town Councilor Jim Butler said he visited the senior center. There is definitely a pest infestation problem, he said, as he noted droppings in the center’s kitchen area. He called the problem “a disgrace” and something that needed immediate attention.

“You wouldn’t want it in your house, trust me,” Butler said.

Senior Affairs Director Stacy Thrall has been on the job for only a few months. She said everyone using the building is very appreciative of the town’s efforts to fix the center.

“We just appreciate the Town Council and feel the time is right to address this,” she said.

In the past, Thrall said, some issues have come up and many people thought the town didn’t care about their building. She said the upgrades will show that the town does care. She said she wants to keep the lines of communication open between seniors and town.

Many seniors attended the recent Town Council meeting and gave officials a standing ovation once the decision was made to do the senior center work.

Councilors also asked seniors to give them a “wish list” of other things that may need to be done.

“It’s an old building,” Town Councilor Joe Green said. “I’m very happy and this is long overdue.”

Hart said seniors in town also gave a unanimous vote of confidence that they loved the senior center and wanted to remain there.

“We will look honestly and candidly at the problems we have there,” Hart said. “We will get together a plan for next budget season.”

Town Council Chairman John Farrell apologized to the town’s seniors for letting some major repairs fall by the wayside at the center and encouraged them to speak up when there was trouble.

“It’s a disgrace to this community and to you as individuals,” he said. “Please, squeaky wheel it.”