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Senior Center may get helping hand

2014-06-14 06:21:41
Submitted by: Jeffrey Musser

Senior Center may get helping hand
Eryn Dion
News Staff Writer

HUBBARDSTON — The Council on Aging may receive a helpful boost in its quest for a new senior center, as state Sen. Stephen Brewer, D-Barre, announced the inclusion of $1.5 million for the center’s construction in the Senate’s version of a Capital Bond Bill passed on Thursday.

“I have been working with the town of Hubbardston for several years, and they have been working longer, to identify a suitable parcel of land for the construction of a new senior center,” said Sen. Brewer. “The current Hubbardston Senior Center is only one room, which is not enough space. Supporting active, independent lifestyles for our seniors is important for a thriving community, and a new Senior Center will do just that.”

Council on Aging Director Claudia Provencal was overjoyed at the prospective funds, saying that the community has supported the construction of a new senior center and that it was great to see that support reflected in the Legislature.

“We were prepared to work out brains out to get that senior center,” she said. “We work so hard and he (Sen. Brewer) works so hard.”

The Council on Aging recently named Sen. Brewer an “honorary resident” of Hubbardston for his service to the community at a barbecue held in his honor.

“We gave him an award for being an outstanding citizen,” said Ms. Provencal.

The town is currently in the process of pursing a land-swap with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation to secure space for a new senior center. The deal would trade 46 acres of landlocked, town-owned property off Natty Pond Drive as well as 17 acres of town-owned land on Mile Road for 12 acres of state-owned land along Route 68, also known as Gardner Road.

In April, Sen. Brewer, along with state Rep. Anne Gobi, D-Spencer, Ms. Provencal, and members of the Senior Center testified before the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight in support of the transfer and in June, residents gave the transfer their blessing by passing a warrant article authorizing the swap during the special town meeting.

Similar to the budget, the bond bill will now head to a conference committee, where the House and Senate versions will be reconciled before being sent off for the governor’s signature and there is a chance the funding will not carry through to the final draft.

If passed by the governor, his administration still retains authority over when the funds are released and how they are spent.

Ms. Provencal said that, regardless of the outcome, the Council on Aging and Hubbardston’s seniors appreciated the senator’s dedication to their cause.

“No matter what happened, we were so grateful for the hard work he’s done,” she said.
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